Finding the Optimal Method for Creating Luminol Chemiluminescence

In emergency rescue situations, chemiluminescent “glow sticks” are the preferred light source because of their ability to produce light without heat. They are chosen over flashlights and other forms of portable light because they do not require batteries, which expire over time. It would benefit emergency technicians if an optimal method for extending the duration of chemiluminescence could be found. The purpose of this research was to find an optimal method by comparing the effects of temperature and agitation on a chemiluminescent reaction. The chemicals involved in each reaction were luminol, C8H7N3O2, hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, sodium hydroxide, NaOH, and a metal catalyst of either iron (III) nitrate, Fe(NO3)3, copper (II) nitrate, Cu(NO3)2, or nickel (II) nitrate, Ni(NO3)2. To measure the duration of each reaction, the solutions were combined in a dark box and the light emitted was measured using a LabQuest light sensor. To investigate the effect of temperature, the luminol solution was heated (40°C), kept at room temperature (20°C), or cooled (10°C). To explore the effect of agitation, the solution was stirred for different extents (no stirring, stirring while combining solutions, stirring throughout entire trial). To determine if an ideal method of creating chemiluminescence existed, the effects of each factor were found using three 2 Factor Design of Experiments (DOE). A separate DOE was conducted for each catalyst. Since each DOE showed significantly different effects for each factor, it was concluded that an optimal method for lengthening chemiluminescent reactions was not found.

Research Done By:

Nicholas Higgins
Cousino High School

Sydney Kieler
Cousino High School