It turns out that light is pretty easy to make. In fact, it’s so easy that it occurs naturally in certain organisms, via what is called bioluminescence. However, it’s even more effortless than that if you have a hammer, a piece of hard candy, and an incredibly sensitive high-speed camera. Destin Sandlin, of YouTube channel Smarter Every Day, demonstrated just that in a recent video.As Sandlin explains in the clip above, the phenomenon is called triboluminescence, defined as the mechanical creation of light, usually through rubbing or shearing or cleaving off a piece of a crystalline structure. It occurs when the chemical bonds holding some material together are suddenly shattered, releasing energy in the form of photons.
The process only requires a hard Life Saver candy and some way to apply a lot of force to it, so it ought to be easy and safe enough for you to try it yourself at home. All you have to do is get yourself in a dark room with the candy and a hammer, take a crack at the candy, and you should see a spark of blue light upon impact. You can even chew the candy in the mirror!
The effect is of course much cooler when filmed with a high-speed camera — you can marvel at the sparks of light being created as the candy splinters apart. Sandlin even brought in guns just for fun and, as you may have expected, the increased force created by the bullets led to a lot more visible light. We can only go as far as recommending you try this with a hammer. If you want to see what kind of triboluminescence can happen when ammunition is involved, watch the video above.
Have you ever tried this for yourself? What other methods could you use to spark a Life Saver in this way? Is there another type of candy that works better? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Featured image: Smarter Every Day 2/YouTube