Friday, 9 December 2011

Fireflies and Sellotape

It's been a while since I wrote a blog but this seems like something fun to talk about. I bet your reading the title thinking what the heck? Fireflies and Sellotape? Well they have something in common they can both glow in the dark.

I study higher chemistry at school (I have already studied standard grade and passed :D) and we were given the opportunity to attend a lecture being held in another high school called "Fireflies and sellotape". I thought this was a weird name. The lecture was all about fluorescent chemistry, chemiluminescence and bio luminescence. And the lecture begun but the scientist telling us what fireflies and sellotape had in common, they glow. Sit in a completely pitch black room for around five minutes for your eyes to adjust to the colour. Then pull a piece of sellotape from the reel and you will see blue sparks glowing from the sellotape. It's really cool. But how does it work. The electrons from the reel will be negative and the electrons from the piece of sellotape will be positive. (The same as a balloon being rubbed against hair to deflect a stream of water (water is polar)). Meaning the polarity will create light energy. You can also do this with the sticky bit on nappies. In addition, if you take a sugar cube or polos (on their side where you can't see the hole) and smash them with a hammer they will have the same effect.

It was definitely the best chemistry lecture I've attended. We did many random little experiments including adding mentos to tonic water and shining a UV lamp through it as the water rose towards the ceiling on the assembly hall.

Do you study chemistry or have you attended this lecture, what were your thoughts. It's almost Christmas so use up that left over sellotape and give this a try :)