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I have created a firefly jar with glow sticks to sell at a school fair. The firefly jar lasts only for an hour or so. I have heard that glow sticks can be reactivated. The firefly jars contain the chemicals found in good sticks. Is there any way to make the jar glow again?


marked as duplicate by Klaus-Dieter Warzecha, Martin - マーチン, user467, jerepierre, Geoff Hutchison Jun 15 '15 at 15:26

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  • $\begingroup$ Nope sorry I'm looking for a way to recharge a firefly jar, not glow stick $\endgroup$ – user3889649 May 29 '15 at 14:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If firefly jars contain the same chemicals as a glow stick, then the answer to a question about recharging glowsticks (it's possible but challenging) answers this question also. In short, you need to add more peroxide and more oxalate ester. Or you could shine a black light on it. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris May 29 '15 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Any tips on how to recharge? My jars contain much less chemical than a glow stick because glow sticks are jammed pack but my jars only have a small volume of the chemical $\endgroup$ – user3889649 May 29 '15 at 15:17

Short answer: No, you can't!

Longer answer: Still no, and this is why: The reaction between the oxalate and hydrogen peroxide is irreversible. Both compounds are consumed in the reaction and there is no way back!

The only compound that survives is a fluorescent material, that absorbs in the UV, emits in the visible range and gives the colour that you finally observe.

As Ben Norris pointed out in his comment, your only options are:

  • add fresh diphenyloxalate and hydrogen peroxide (which again will be consumed) or
  • irradiate the fluorescent compound that has survived with a UV lamp
  • $\begingroup$ OK the. Do any of the suggested methods on the internet work then ( freezer, boiling water).? $\endgroup$ – user3889649 May 29 '15 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ @user3889649 No, when it's gone it's gone. You might be able to slow down the reaction in a freezer, but once mixed, hydrogen peroxide and diphenyloxalate will not unmix. Instead, they will react and the reaction will not stop until the starting materials are consumed. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha May 29 '15 at 15:55

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