Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Glow In The "Dark" Fun With Tonic Water And UV Light


Since we were all staying up after dark, to watch the fireworks on the 4th, I figured it would be a good opportunity to try out one of those Mentos, and tonic water experiments, under UV light.

If you haven't seen one done before, it's just like a regular Mentos and Coke fountain, except that it glows "in the dark". It's not really glowing in the dark, the phosphors in the tonic water, in this case quinine, are simply absorbing the UV light, that's outside of the visible spectrum, and converting it to light we can see. Or, so I've read from Oceanit's Weird Science page.

We created three fountains, using a UV flashlight, and 2 liter bottles of tonic water, with a package of mint flavored Mentos for each one, dropped into the bottles by pulling a string, to remove a piece of cardboard from a cardboard tube, the boys set up for us.

The reaction that happens when you drop Mentos into carbonated soda, or tonic water, is very fast, and short lived. Add that to the fact that it was the 4th of July, so we had scenes like this around us...


...and it equals some pretty blurry pictures, and a few less than impressed children. I took a video, but naturally, it's too long to upload to Blogger. You can follow this link to YouTube, to see a video (from someone else) of the same thing, though.

I did capture some of the excitement we had, when the children discovered opening a bottle of tonic water, can be as risky as opening a well shaken bottle of soda.



And, we had a great time discovering that our mentos, not only didn't disolve in tonic water, but were spewed out in the eruption of fizz from the fountain, where they then laid glowing in the yard, under the UV lights.

The children were quite interested in all of the glowing clothing, and their "auntie's" pedicure (which I thought was pretty amusing, myself).


Earlier in the week we had played around with tonic water under UV light, inside the house, and discovered, while tonic water ice cubes glow nicely in a glass of water...


...they are not quite as impressive in a glass of Coke. But, quinine laced ice tastes really horrible in water.


We also tried mixing Kool-Aid with tonic water, and sugar. Red Kool-Aid didn't so much glow, as turn milky.



We had better luck with powdered lemonade...


...and lemon Jell-O (kind of has an alien brains sort of look, I think).


And, the sourness of the lemon flavored drinks, or food helps to mask the bitter taste of the quinine in the tonic water, so it's not too bad. Of course it's not so good, I'd make a habit out of using it in my Jell-O, either.

But, while I had the UV flashlight out, I noticed one more thing that glows in it, too. That's my bathroom light fixture if you can't make it out.


Forget the white gloves, I think from now on I'm going to check the house with UV light before, and maybe after I clean. It's hard to miss the dust, when it's glowing brightly in the dark.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

5 comments:

Ticia said...

Okay that's pretty cool and you almost have me convinced to get a uv light

Phyllis said...

Boy, you really had a lot of fun with it, didn't you!

Christy said...

Wow, that is cool!

Christianne @ Little Page Turners said...

Great fun! I've been dying to do mentos and soda - glowing just makes it that much better. Need to get a larger UV light!

Jennifer said...

Love the unsuspected glowing toenails :)