Making Glow Sticks at Home is Fairly Easy

By Anupum Pant

Glow sticks or Light Sticks are so much fun and assuming you are able to get the required chemicals from a lab supply shop (online or offline), making them at home is as simple as mixing tang.
I came across this interesting video which teaches you how to make glow sticks at home. The best thing: You don’t have to worry about mixing exact measurements. An experiment definitely worth a try!

As the video tells you in the beginning, making these at home will cost you more than a ready-made glow stick. That is because the chemicals required to make it cost much lesser when bought in bulk. Nevertheless, it should be fun to try at home. If you can’t watch it, I’ve mentioned everything in detail below. [video]

1. SOLVENT: The first thing you need is Diethyl Phthalate (DEP). It is a fairly common substance because it is used a lot in detergent, sprays, cosmetics industries. Although it is clear and looks almost like water, you should avoid touching it with bare skin. In fact, none of these chemicals should be touched. Gloves are extremely important here. DEP will be your main solvent. All the magic will happen in it.

2. COLORS: The second part of making glow sticks involves the color. For this, you’ll need something called the fluorescent dyes. The ones used in the video are:

  • 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene for Green – Orange in solid state.
  • Rubrene for Yellow – Red in solid state.
  • 9,10-diphenylanthracene for Blue – White in solid state.
  • and Rhodamine B for Red – Green in solid state.
  • Mix the blue and Yellow solutions for the white glow stick.

3. ENERGY: To make enough energy to light it up you’ll need a mixture of three chemicals. The first one is TCPO (DNPO or CPPO can also be used). It is an expensive chemical. It can be made for much cheaper [video] The second chemical is added to keep the liquid in alkaline state. Sodium Acetate (Remember Hot Ice).
In the end, you add, Hydrogen peroxide and shake to give the final glow. It acts as an oxidizing agent, reacts to form an unstable compound, which excites the dye to an excited state. The dye emits light when it comes back to the ground state. This is the reason you need Fluorescent dyes – normal dyes won’t work.

For more of such interesting chemistry tricks do subscribe to NurdRage on Youtube.

To make a permanent Glow Stick

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Human Skin and Permanent Tattoos

Our skin is huge. It is so big that it is larger than any of our organs. Yes, skin is the largest organ in our body. Still, we have never heard some of the most striking things about the human skin. Let us take a few minutes to skim through them before we talk about permanent tattoos.

Weight and Area: If our skin was cut and laid on the floor, it would cover an area of about 1.5 to 2 m2. If weighed on a scale, it would independently weigh about 3.5 kg (about 5% of your body weight).
To give you a perspective about its area, the same area in some posh localities of Mumbai would cost around $35000. Anyway, it sounds senseless to compare our skin’s area with real estate. So, given that no one has been able to artificially create an exact replica of it, I can’t really put a cost on it now. Let us talk about a nice estimation of its cost in the future. In terms of many functions it performs for our body, – a personal air conditioner, heater, shield, sensor, moisturizer etc – our skin, no doubt, is an invaluable asset.

In short, it is always good to think carefully about it, when you are planning a construction on this precious piece of real estate. Because bringing it down is going to be difficult.

Permanent Tattoos

To understand how permanent tattoos work, you need to understand the basic structure of skin.

Layers: Broadly, there are 3 main layers of skin – The Epidermis, Dermis and Hypodermis. The thickness varies at different parts. For instance, it is the thinnest at our eye-lids. Thinner skin is lighter. This enables you to complete the wink, in the wink of an eye.

Why Permanent?
Permanent tattoos on skin are permanent because of the 3 different layers. To put a tattoo on your skin a mechanized needle punctures your epidermis and sends colored particles to the epidermis. The body thinks of it as a damage that has been done to the body, and sends white blood cells to capture the color particles. But these particles are too big to be eaten by the white blood cells. As a result, they stay there permanently.

Why Avoid?

  1. It is not really Permanent: Later in your life, as the pigment moves and the folds of skin change, the “permanent tattoos” lose their sharpness. They start fading or get distorted. But a hazy and pointless mark remains there permanently.  At this point, people start regretting about their early life decisions. They start looking for methods to get rid of these hazy marks. Now, an expensive laser treatment seems like the best idea.
  2. Tattoos can kill you: While itching, swelling, rashes, bumps, and other skin reactions due to tattoos are very common; it should be known that tattoos can also kill you. Poorly made tattoo ink can contain hazardous chemicals which range from potentially carcinogenic substances to the presence of lead. Moreover, a wrong needle pierced at the wrong places, like your spine, could prove to be deadly. You don’t want these pigments in your blood stream.
    HIV or hepatitis from an infected needle can be another concern. But dying from a tattoo is extremely rare.
  3. Professional career: Also visible permanent tattoos aren’t good for your professional career. Most employees think it’s unacceptable for tattoos by be visible while at work. Also it is believed that tattoos should be covered up for a job interview.
  4. Tattoo removal can be expensive. Plus most of the time these methods don’t do their job perfectly. Often, permanent coloration is left after removal.
  5. This is not an exhaustive list. So, Etc…

It is a good idea to find some other way to prove your love.

If you are wondering why I wrote this – It was a side-effect of an effort to find a few common things in the randomness that I came across today while researching for a completely different article. Although the article might seem absurd, you can’t refute that it does teach you at least one new thing, for the day.

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