Make Glow Sticks - the Science

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Introduction: Make Glow Sticks - the Science

We show how to make glow sticks and go through all the chemicals needed as well as how to make different colors. We also talk about the chemistry and scientifically research a proposed mechanism.

To make the glow stick mix together the following:

10mL Diethyl Phthalate (solvent)
3mg of fluorescent dye (see below)
50mg TCPO (see below)
100mg sodium acetate
3mL 30% hydrogen peroxide (add last to start reaction)

The fluorescent dye can be 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene for green, Rubrene for yellow, 9,10-diphenylanthracene for blue, and rhodamine B for red.

TCPO is expensive to buy but can be made for much cheaper by following the directions in our previous video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViJknvEEEOA

The chemicals, including the ones to make TCPO were purchased from alfa aesar:

The Rhodamine B and Rubrene dyes were instead purchased from sigma Aldrich:

The dyes and TCPO are carcinogenic and gloves should be worn when handling them.

The TCPO and sodium acetate amounts can be varied considerably and still obtain good light. Smaller quantities tend to be dimmer and decay faster, while larger quantities last longer.

For those that want a kit that has all the chemicals, there is kickstarter for that: 
NOTE: I am not in anyway affiliated with the company. I cannot vouch for the effectiveness or quality of their product. 

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79 Comments

thanks for this experiment pecs use I need something for my science experiment and this is the fight thing for it! Thanks so much!!!!??????????????

I request u nurdrage please make a glow stick which emmitts infrared or uv light using 16,17-dihexyloxyviolanthrone emits infrared at 725 nm. or
16,17-butyloxyviolanthrone emits infrared. Or
1-N,N-dibutylaminoanthracene emits infrared. Or
6-methylacridinium iodide emits infrared.

It's difficult to understand some of these comments/questions because so many people no longer use punctuation, correctly or otherwise. It's maddening because I have some of the same questions and don't want to be redundant in the postings.

Can you make these in any other colours other than these four?? Please and thanks for any responses :)

can u just make me one Im only 15 years old

wait......... so um you can make glow sticks out of water well im a fourth grader and i really need help on my science project because it's on 2 MONTHS and i can't think of something thank you so much for giving me this great idea !!!

wait......... so um you can make glow sticks out of water well im a fourth grader and i really need help on my science project because it's on 2 MONTHS and i can't think of something thank you so much for giving me this great idea !!!

wait......... so um you can make glow sticks out of water well im a fourth grader and i really need help on my science project because it's on 2 MONTHS and i can't think of something thank you so much for giving me this great idea !!!