JUN 27, 2018 11:32 AM PDT

The Eerie Glow from Tape Peeling

Some of you may remember a bizarre experience like this: when peeling an adhesive tape or opening a band-aid in a pitch dark environment, one can see an eerie glow from where the separation occurs. 

The explanation behind this? Triboluminescence. "Tribo" is the prefix that related to friction, combined with "luminescence", the word describes a phenomenon in which visible light is generated two materials (usually in direct contact) rubbed against each other or pulled apart.

Scientists have not come to a consensus what causes triboluminescence. It is very likely to happen upon fracture of asymmetrical materials, during which chemical bonds are broken, and charges are released. When the charges reform bonds, the electric discharge ionizes the surrounding air, causing a flash of light. When occurring in the vacuum, where there's no gas molecule nearby, a beam of x-ray can be generated due to the high-velocity travel of the electrons.

Source: Physics Girl via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
OCT 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 21, 2019
Here's Why NASA Wants to Crash a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid
Yes, you read that right; NASA would like to slam a purposefully built spacecraft into the surface of an asteroid. While this idea might seem like a substa...
OCT 25, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 25, 2019
Fridge without Liquid Coolant: How a "Twisted" Idea can Revolutionize Refrigeration Technology
In the middle of the night, the low-pitched hum from the fridge compressor is likely the most common noise in every household. The fridge's cooling sys...
NOV 26, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 26, 2019
Jupiter's Great Red Spot is as Powerful as it is Captivating
Jupiter is the largest known planet in our solar system, but even that isn’t the gas giant’s most discernible feature – that title belong...
NOV 27, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 27, 2019
Stain-resistant Cement Floor that Requires No Cleaning
Cement surface is porous, therefore, can be penetrated by moisture and contaminants. Hydrophobic coatings can be used to keep out stains and fine dust, but...
DEC 16, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 16, 2019
Here's What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped Orbiting the Sun
The Earth orbits the Sun once every 365 days, or one full year. It does this while whizzing through the vacuum of space at break-neck speeds of up to 110,0...
DEC 20, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 20, 2019
Physics Breakthroughs in 2019
The Physics World magazine is an iconic publication in the scientific community. This month, its editorial team selected the top 10 Breakthroughs for...
Loading Comments...