Weird Science:Glowing Water - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Weird Science:Glowing Water

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- Halloween is just around the corner so Dr.V is here to show us some spooky experiments.

Dr. V Show: Glowing Water

October 19, 2010


Things you need:

  • Tonic water
  • Fluorescent highlighter
  • Cups
  • Water
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Black light or UV bulb


The experiment

Please perform this and all experiments under the supervision and with the assistance of an adult. Ask an adult to help you pull apart the highlighter with the pliers. Usually, there is a tight fitting cap on the bottom. Once you take that off, take out the inner filling tube. Put this tube into a cup of water and let it sit for a while. You can see the color start to come out into the water. After about 15 minutes, squeeze the rest of the ink and water out of the tube into your cup. Now dim your lights and shine the black light on your water. What does it look like? You can also try drawing a small picture on the back of your hand with the highlighter. How well can you see it? Try looking at your hand under the black light. You can use this water for fountains or cool glowing effects. If you want to make some cool glowing drinks, try using tonic water. Look at some tonic water under the black light. What does that look like? You could try making some spooky drinks with a little tonic water in them!


How does it work?

When you turn on the black light, what you don't see is the UV or ultraviolet light the bulb is producing. This wavelength of light is outside the spectrum of visible light, or the light that we can see with our eyes. What you see when you shine the black light on your highlighter water or tonic water is phosphors. Phosphors are any substance that converts radiation, or UV light in this case into visible light. There is quinine in tonic water and quinine is a phosphor. Many things contain phosphors, like your teeth, the whites of your eyes, some clothes and your TV. Try dimming the lights in your house and shine your black light around to see what else contains phosphors.   


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