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Hi! I'm doing a science project on how temperatures in water and in air affect the time glow sticks last and I have some questions. Please help! First of all, how do glow sticks work? Thanks so much! -Peachtree
Question Date: 2012-01-11
Answer 1:

The common glow sticks use a substance that emits light when it is oxidized by oxygen. The substance is called luminol[(3-aminophthalhydrazide C8H7O2N3)] and the oxidant normally used is hydrogen peroxide.

In the course of a chemical reaction, there are always significant changes in the energy content of the reactants as they transform into products. This energy must be absorbed from or dispersed to the surroundings of the system. (Remember the First Law of Thermodynamics, no energy is either created or destroyed). The energy stored in the reactants sometimes is liberated as heat (exothermic reactions) and sometimes also as other forms of energy, in the case of the glowing stick reaction, as light. The process is called chemiluminescence.

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