Breaking Lifesavers makes flashes of light
What you need:
- A dark room with a mirror
- Wintergreen Lifesavers
- Stand in the dark room facing the mirror. (If you don't have a mirror, get a partner and watch each other.)
- Chew a Lifesaver with your mouth open.
- Look for flashes of light.
When you crunch the candy, electrons get ripped off of the sugar molecules. When they recombine with the sugar molecules, these electrons emit light. The wintergreen oil used for flavoring makes the light more visible.*
*For more information, see "Lightning In Your Mouth" on the Exploratorium website. You can also find a complete explanation of this reaction in Sweeting, Linda M, "Light Your Candy," Chem Matters, Oct 1990, pp 10-12.