It’s all chemical – when you ‘snap’ the glowstick, you break a vial inside the stick. There are chemicals inside this vial, and other separate chemicals outside the vial. When the two mix together, they create the energy – a third chemical solution is needed to convert that energy into colored light. A common recipe is hydrogen peroxide, phenyl oxalate ester, plus fluorescent dye. The hydrogen peroxide mixes with the phenyl oxalate ester, which forms phenol and another chemical, which decomposes to CO2 – the CO2 is what eventually ‘excites’ the fluorescent dye and causes your glowsticks to light up!
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