Light sticks are a versatile, battery free source of light. Given their many uses and applications (and the prevalence of safety and decorating ideas around the internet) many people have asked if dropping a light stick into a container of water amplifies its effects.
While submersing a light stick in a container of water – like a milk jug, glass bottle or fish bowl – will create a cool, decorative effect, it does not amplify the light. The temperature of the water can, however, produce an effect.
For instance, a water temperature above the standard 72 degrees at which we test our light sticks could potentially increase the rate of the chemical reaction that creates the light, making the stick appear brighter for a shorter period of time. Colder water will have the opposite effect – the reaction slows, making the stick appear less bright but for a longer period of time.
Anyone who has every gone diving with a light stick is familiar with this occurrence. As they dive deeper into cooler waters, the light stick will appear to dim – a spooky effect in such a mysterious environment. Then, as the diver returns to surface, the same light stick will begin to glow brighter again.