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10 Things You Never Knew About Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are wonders of the universe aren’t they? Who cares about the great wall of China, the Horsehead Nebula, the Northern Lights or Donald Trump’s hair, when you’ve got glow sticks?

If you aren’t yet convinced that glow sticks are something that should definitely be discussed in a Brian Cox podcast, check out these 10 things you never knew about glow sticks to be amazed:

1. Glow sticks were a military tool first

soldier reads document with green glow stick

In the 1960’s the Sailing Branch of the military started researching how different chemicals react to create a light source. The blended different chemicals to create a special reaction which brought glow sticks into fruition. They were developed for use in lots of different aspects of the military, from experimental bombs, to creating targets for airstrikes. They were also a much more safe alternative to the traditional flare.

2. Green & yellow glow sticks are used for emergencies

When glow sticks are used in emergency situations, green and yellow are the colours used because they give off the brightest light, this is closely followed by orange glow sticks which is the third brightest glow stick colour.

3. Glow sticks are the only safe light source to use in a catastrophe

Glow sticks are considered to be the only light source that is safe to use immediately following a catastrophe. That’s because they’re the only manmade light source that produces light without heat.

4. The way a glow stick gets its light is via a cool name

The chemical reaction that takes place in a glow stick tube is called Chemiluminescence. Pretty cool right

5. Glow sticks can have a shelf life of two years before they have to be used

How long a glow stick lasts on the shelf depends on how it is stored and how it is packaged. They are supposed to be kept in cool, dry conditions and if they aren’t, and are kept in say, a damp environment, they will go ‘out of date’ a lot quicker. Green glow sticks also have a longer shelf life than red glow sticks, but all tend to last up to two years if stored and packaged properly.

6. There is a dance associated with glow sticks called glowsticking!

Did you know that the special dance associated with glow sticks is called glowsticking? You can either do glowstringing (dancing with one or more glow sticks on a string) or freehand glowsticking. Check out this epic glowstringing:

7. A glow stick doesn’t get hot when it lights up

Hence the reason it is used as a safe alternative to heat-emitting forms of light.

8. Glow sticks are waterproof

So the safety uses of a glow stick extend far beyond land, hence why scuba divers use them.

9. There are tons of different uses for glow sticks

multicoloured glow in the dark hoopla game

They are used in night time sports, they are used as emergency lighting in lots of situations, they are used for glow wars at festivals, as jewellery, to light walkways on temporary paths, as decorations – there’s always a new use for pretty lighting right?

10. You can speed up or slow down the effect of a glow stick

Any glow stick is affected by temperature. Chemiluminescence is sensitive to temperatures, and so your environment will affect how long your glow stick lasts. Higher temperatures cause the glow stick to brighten up, but last for a shorter period of time. Lower temperatures cause the glow stick to glow much less, but last a lot longer.

We hope you have been truly wowed and astonished by our magnificent glow stick facts. We hope to see you glowstringing soon!

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