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What happens to the matter inside a glow stick when it's heated or cooled?
Question Date: 2012-01-11
Answer 1:

What happens will depend on the specific composition of chemicals in the particular glow stick, but in general the chemical reaction that makes them glow slows down when the glow stick is cooled, and it speed up when it is heated. By adjusting the concentrations of the chemicals inside the glow stick, it will glow in different intensities, depending on the structure of the dye (the wavelength of the proton-the color of the emitted light)

Try the experiment by placing an active glow stick in the freezer, then take it out from the freezer and see if it resumes glowing. It is a common belief that glow sticks may be placed in a freezer to slow the chemical reaction, allowing the same sticks to be kept for two or three night's activity. In reverse, microwaving or running hot water over them speeds up the photon release and makes them brighter, but also diminishes the life of the glow stick. This, however, usually depends on the specific composition of chemicals in the particular glow stick at hand. Keeping the glow stick in room temperature makes it last hours, but not more than the frozen glow stick.

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