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My brother is supposed to do a science experiment at school for an open house. We found an interesting experiment in which you pour several chemicals together, causing the resulting concoction to glow brightly. You can make several colors in this way. Then you can dump them together, to demonstrate how white light is made up of several colors mixed together. Several questions. 1. Which chemicals are used? 2. How do you get the colors? 3. Where can you buy the chemicals you need?

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If you want different colours, you might want to give the peroxyoxalate reaction, known from glow sticks, a try.

Typically, you will need three components:

  1. a diaryl oxalate
  2. hydrogen peroxide (to oxidize the diaryl oxalate, probably to a 1,2-dioxetanedione)
  3. a fluorescent dye, which determines the final colour.

Wilhelm J. Baader has examined the reaction in great detail, and you'll find a lot of references on his website.

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