“Light tornado” experiment

Instructions on how to make a tornado glowing in the dark

Chemists know how to make a tor­na­do, it’s spec­tac­u­lar and not dan­ger­ous at all! The ex­per­i­ment demon­strates the phe­nom­e­non of chemi­lu­mi­nes­cence – the re­lease of light in a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion.

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • sodi­um hy­drox­ide;
  • lu­mi­nol;
  • potas­si­um fer­ro­cyanide;
  • 30% hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide;
  • dis­tilled wa­ter;
  • glass rod;
  • beaker;
  • Petri dish.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Add sodi­um hy­drox­ide, lu­mi­nol and dis­tilled wa­ter to the beaker and mix well, then add the hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide and mix again. Turn off the light and add potas­si­um fer­ro­cyanide.

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

In an al­ka­line medi­um, lu­mi­nol is eas­i­ly ox­i­dized by hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide. Potas­si­um fer­ro­cyanide is the cat­a­lyst for the ox­i­da­tion of lu­mi­nol by the per­ox­ide. An un­sta­ble par­ti­cle forms, which breaks down with the re­lease of light.

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Wear pro­tec­tive gloves and glass­es.

Don’t try to re­peat this ex­per­i­ment with­out a pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion!