I recently discovered some glow in the dark fabric for my Fort Kits which has got me thinking about glow in the dark experiments. Here is an easy one that just uses tape you might have around the house – although duct tape works best for me.
Cut off 2 pieces of duct tape a few inches long. Stick them sticky sides together but leave a bit apart on one end so you can pull them apart. Go into a pitch dark closet. Once your eyes have adjusted, pull the tape apart. You should see a faint blue glow right where the two pieces meet as you pull.
The glow is caused by triboluminescence – light generated by the breaking of chemical bonds when something is scratched, ripped, crushed or rubbed. The word comes from the Greek roots tribo = rubbed and lumens = light.
Try out some other tapes like masking tape or clear tapes to see if they are also triboluminscent. You can also get the same effect by scratching quartz rock, crushing sugar or biting on a peppermint life saver.