Greetings fellow nerds! So i was at the hardware store and i noticed this package of resin hardener. Now this is used for initiating the hardening process of fiberglass resin and other polymers like styrenes. Its primary ingredient is an interesting chemical called methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. This is a type of organic peroxide and like the more common hydrogen peroxide it has two oxygen atoms bonded together. Now hydrogen peroxide activates glow sticks. So i was wondering would this stuff work in the same capacity? More importantly would it work better than the cheaper hydrogen peroxide? Now my first hypothesis is no, because glow sticks use a polar mechanism and the hydrogen peroxide is fully consumed in that reaction. Organic peroxides activate polymerization through a free radical mechanism and are only partly consumed. But then again i’ve been blatantly wrong before and i wanted to see how far i would get. Afterall research is most fun when it teaches you something new. So here i am setting for the classic glow stick reaction. I’ve got my solvent of dimethyl phthalate and i’m mixing it with some TCPO. About half a gram. You might be wondering why i’m using dimethyl phthalate instead of my usual diethyl phthalate. Dimethyl phthalate happened to be cheaper this year so i bought that instead. A lot of times in chemistry you buy stuff because it’s the cheapest available rather than because it’s the best. Okay now i’m adding in our favorite dye, 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl) anthracene which will give us the popular green glow of glow sticks. Let me shake that up. Now i’m not yet adding in our base, sodium acetate, because i want to see if this organic peroxide works without it. If it’s better and more reactive than hydrogen peroxide then maybe it won’t need a base. Okay now that it’s all mixed up. We now add the resin hardener containing our organic methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. I’m adding a few drops. Nothing seems to be happening yet. Let me shake it up. Okay doesn’t seem like anything is happening. Let’s add in the sodium acetate base now since that’s generally needed when working with a weak chemiluminescent substrate like TCPO. Oh! It looks like something is happening. The sodium acetate powder is glowing. Possibly indicating a reaction. Let me shake it up to distribute it. Ummů yeahů Not really workingů. Let me add in some more of the methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. I’m adding about ten drops or so. It might be working a bit, but it’s rather dim. I’m going to let it sit to see if just needs some time. Okay at this point i’d call this a failure. Although it does seem to be glowing a bit, it does not possess superior qualities to straight hydrogen peroxide as an activator. I might be able to get decent glow if i used a lot more, but the high cost of this methyl ethyl ketone peroxide doesn’t seem to justify it. I’d be better off spending my money on hydrogen peroxide. Okay it’s been a couple of minutes and the glow hasn’t improved. I’m now going to add in actual hydrogen peroxide. This is to test if our test itself is working. Maybe i have bad TCPO giving me a false negative result. Now i know this is a lot of hydrogen peroxide i’m using but it’s very cheap so can. Afterall i was hoping the organic peroxide would be superior so i wouldn’t need this much. Anyway, there we go. That is a real glow stick reaction. So i guess we learned that organic peroxide doesn’t beat hydrogen peroxide as a glow stick activator. Another failure. But if was already absolutely certain of the outcome it wouldn’t be research. Now interestingly enough I was looking for cleaning agents and i found this so called environmentally friendly cleaner. It claims to contain sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. Now technically it does but in a crystalline powder form. This substance is sodium percarbonate and is essentially sodium carbonate. But rather than being hydrated with water as ionic crystals commonly are, it’s an adduct with hydrogen peroxide. You can also find this stuff in more commonly available OxiClean powder. But that’s full of other chemicals and detergents so i don’t recommend it. Try and find cleaners like this that claim to be pure and are just sodium percarbonate. This stuff costs similar to high grade hydrogen peroxide so it might be a convenient source for glow sticks. Let’s give it a try. So here i am making my glow stick formula again. Dimethyl Phthalate, add in some TCPO, and a dash of 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl) anthracene dye and i give it a good shake. I’m not adding in the base of sodium acetate this time because sodium percarbonate is already a base as it has sodium carbonate in it. Maybe we can save on another reagent this way. Okay now we add the sodium percarbonate. I’m not sure how much is optimal, but for now i’ll just add a similar amount to our TCPO. Okay, let me turn off the lights. Not much happening yet. Let me give it a shake. Not much happening either. But you know, it might be because the sodium percarbonate crystals don’t dissolve in dimethyl phthalate. And if they don’t dissolve then we can’t release the hydrogen peroxide. Okay let me turn the lights back on. I guess the next logical step is to add some water. The water should dissolve the sodium percarbonate and release the hydrogen peroxide. Okay, let me turn off the lights again and give it another shake. Oh, there we go. Something is happening. Wow, now that is a glow stick reaction. Looks like sodium percarbonate based cleaners can work for glow sticks. This seems to be a viable alternative to regular hydrogen peroxide and sodium acetate. The costs and availability are similar depending on where you live so use whichever one is easier to acquire. I think Oxiclean can work as well but with diminished performance. So there you go, we tested some alternative peroxides and found organic methyl ethyl ketone peroxide to be unusable but sodium percarbonate to work quite well. Thanks for watching. Special thank you to all of my supporters on patreon for making these science videos possible with their donations and their direction. If you are not currently a patron, but like to support the continued production of science videos like this one, then check out my patreon page here or in the video description. I really appreciate any and all support.