How do things glow in the dark?

There are so many objects from toys to watches that glow in the dark. There are a number of chemical compounds that can help the products glow in dark.

What results in the glow?

The easiest way to make things glow in the dark is to use chemical called phosphorous. This chemical produces light after it has been energized. Most objects that glow in the dark need a source of light to energize the atoms within Phosphorus. When the objects are exposed to light, these objects derive energy from the light and glow in the dark. The light energizes the phosphorous and charges up the electrons. As a result the objects glow in the dark.

Are they safe?

Phosphorous is used to make the objects’ glow and therefore, these objects are not completely safe. Phosphorus is used in commercial applications from making TV screens, computer screens and fluorescent lights glow. However, the chemical should never be ingested especially by infants and children. It might cause some infection or temporary damage to their health. Phosphorous is used in small proportion but is still harmful.

Other chemicals

Some other chemicals that are used for making objects’ glow in the dark apart from phosphorous are zinc and strontium aluminate. In fact, strontium aluminate is 10 times brighter than phosphorus and glows in the dark very effectively. Though it is almost 10 times as expensive as zinc, and is frequently used for toys that glow in the dark.

Some harmful chemicals

There are some objects’ that do not require charging. In these objects radioactive element such as radium is used. The radium gives off small amount of radiation, which is not dangerous and at the same time can make the objects’ glow in the dark. The radium that is present in the toy energizes the phosphorus atoms to glow in the dark in the same way as light. Radium charged phosphorous particles are generally used in objects such as wall clocks and watches so that the effect can last longer than two hours. Since Radium is radioactive, it is not used in toys and other objects that children might accidentally take in their mouths.

An alternative to phosphorous

Another way to make things glow is by making use of a chemical reaction called chemiluminescence. Two different chemicals are used to create a radiation that causes electrons to get excited and move in the high energy level. When these electrons return to normal energy level, they release energy that helps them to acquire the glow. This kind of reaction is not very frequently used, but the effect of these reactions lasts longer than phosphorous. They are also used for the production of glow sticks that can be effectively used in any terrain, underwater and in muddy waters for lighting the way.

Glow in the dark

These are many toys, clocks, watches that glow in the dark and not all of them are harmful, but it is best avoided in products that children use as they tend to take it in their mouth. Glow in the dark objects are widely used and looks very pretty. Children use them as stickers and paste it on their walls that glow all night.

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