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Did You Know That Sugar Glows?

* 4 August 2011 11:39:45 BST

When you think about the contents of your home or even just your kitchen, would you have thought that many of the everyday items there will actually glow in the dark? Consider sugar; loved by most, this sweet substance is a part of everyday life that provokes very little thought, except, am I eating too much? Or more often...when can I have some more! But this fabulous food stuff will produce a blue glow when crushed! Don't believe us? Sit in a darkened room and let your eyes adjust to the dark, then sprinkle some sugar on a plate (sugar with larger crystals work best such as Demerara) and then crush sugar cubes under a glass. Look closely and you should see flashes of blue light!

The glowing blue light is known as triboluminescence, which basically means rubbing light; the light that you see when tear, crush or rub certain materials. By crushing sugar you're expelling energy, some of which is converted into light. By splitting or ripping or crushing the materials, you're causing a separation of positive and negative charges; the blue light occurs when these charges pull themselves back to one another quite literally making sparks fly!

While the act of crushing sugar won't produce culinary wonders such as glow in the dark cupcakes it's a pretty impressive effect that's well documented in the likes of Wint O Green Lifesaver sweets in the US and can even be witnessed along the gum line of an envelope when opened in the dark and by simply peeling some adhesive tapes!

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