Fun with band-aids

Unlike our previous posts, this is simply a fun observation. I knew about the wintergreen-life-savers-in-the-dark trick, but I learned this morning that pulling open a band-aid wrapper produces a beautiful bluish glow for similar reasons. This lovely light production is due to triboluminescence, and I likely only noticed because I was too lazy to turn on the bathroom light this morning.

The blue color is due to excited nitrogen in the air. In theory, opening a band-aid wrapper should produce a different color if you could open a band-aid under an atmosphere with a different dominant gas. The air we breathe is 78% Nitrogen, which is why the glow is due to that gas, but if we could change the proportions to have a different dominant gas, other colors might be possible  similarly to why auroras can be different colors!

Below is a video showing this effect if you aren’t inclined to open band-aids simply for the fun of it:

Cheers!

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