# How does a glow stick work [duplicate]

I understand that when the glow sticks snaps, it produces light, and that process is called triboluminescence. But I don't understand how that works

• As noted in the answers, triboluminescence is not the correct explanation. – Jon Custer Oct 14 '16 at 16:04
• Light from a chemical reaction is chemiluminescence. Triboluminescence is the emission of light caused by rubbing, scratching, or similar frictional contact of a substance. Two quartz pebbles rubbed together will create triboluminescence. – MaxW Oct 14 '16 at 17:17
• See this and the links therein:chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/35527/… – Nilay Ghosh Oct 15 '16 at 6:15

A glow stick is composed of two different compounds (normally diphenyl oxalate and hydrogen peroxide), separated by a thin, breakable, barrier. When you bend the glow stick, the barrier breaks, causing these two compounds to be mixed together. When this happens, hydrogen peroxide causes the diphenyl oxalate to break down into phenol and peroxyacid ester. The peroxyacid ester then breaks down into $\ce{CO2}$, transferring energy to some sort of a dye that then releases it to produce light.