The students loved their glowing slime. They also found it very funny and a little gross how, in 1669, it was first produced (read below under Facts/Science/History for more information).
If you would like to experiment with glow powder, visit our online store. We have a packet available for purchase.
The glow powder we use in our classes is phosphorescence zinc sulfide.
- Phosphorescence is a type of light emitting substance. The light given off is not caused by combustion or heat. When phosphor comes into contact with the sun's rays or any other form of light, it absorbs the photons and later in the dark, it emits these photons. The photons thus released a phosphorescent glow. This process is known as photoluminescence.
- Zinc sulfide (ZnSO4) is an inorganic compound and dietary supplement. Not all zinc sulfide glow, but this one does! It is a luminous zinc sulfide.
Suggested Uses for Glow Powder:
- In art projects. Add to glue and place glue dots on a space picture for glowing stars.
- Add into slime to make Glow Slime. Make sure that the slime is a light color. A dark color will mask the glow powder.
- Sculpt an object with air dry clay. Allow to dry then paint. Once the paint is dry, add glow powder to some glue and brush the glue over the object. The glue will give the object a nice shine and then at night, the object will glow.
Facts/Science/History of Glowing Objects:
Phosphorus and its various compounds are phosphorescent (materials that glow in the dark).
Before knowing what phosphorus was, its glowing properties were reported in ancient writings. Dating as far back as 1000 B.C. observations were made in China regarding fireflies and glow-worms.
Phosphorus was first isolated in 1669 by German physician Hennig Brand. Brand was an alchemist who was attempting to change metals into gold when he isolated phosphorus. Brand started with urine and let it sit around for two weeks. Then he boiled it for 24 hours. Brand saw a glowing gas rising from the boiling urine. After the gas cooled, it formed a solid that kept glowing. This weird concoction burst into flames when it touched air. Brand didn't know what he had made, but he had made phosphorus.
"Glow in the dark" falls under several different sciences including:
- Photoluminescence by definition is the emission of light from a molecule or atom that has absorbed energy: examples include fluorescence and phosphorescence materials. The glow in the dark plastic constellation kits that you stick on your wall or ceiling are an example of a photoluminescence based product, just like glow powder.
- Chemiluminescence is the emission of light without the emission of heat as the result of a chemical reaction (for example glow sticks).
- Bioluminescence is light emitted by living organisms using an internal chemical reaction (think deep sea creatures).
- Radioluminescence is created by the bombardment of ionizing radiation.
Chemilumenescence and Photouminescence are behind the majority of glow in the dark products. The main difference between the two is that with Chemilumenscence a chemical reaction has occur. Think of a glow stick, when you "crack it", chemicals mix together to create the glow. During photouminescence, light is released without a chemical reaction, think of a TV clicker, the buttons will glow in the dark after a day of absorbing light rays from the sun and/or light bulbs.
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