Lifesavers Wint O Green Mints 可能就是我们需要观察这项科学的工具！ 粉碎它们，并观察和检测是什么让闪光可见。 你能看到多少这样的火花？
闪电是静电的大量释放。 它开始于冰冷的雨滴摩擦着空气。 这种摩擦会导致静电，有时电可以跳过气隙。 这个过程被称为放电或闪光。 在云内或云与地球之间，放电是巨大的; 它将空气加热到发出白光的程度。 那发出的白光就是你看到的闪电。
Miniature buildups of static electricity occur often. Maybe you remember your hair standing up after brushing it or clothes clinging together when they come out of the dryer. In both examples, rubbing created static electricity. Crushing particular crystalline structures like hard sugar or salt also gives rise to static electricity.
Whenever there is static electricity, a release might happen. You might have felt or seen a discharge when touching a metal doorknob after walking across a carpeted floor. Although releases occur often, we hardly ever see a light flash. The miniature releases excite the air around it, which then typically releases ultraviolet (UV) light, a type of light humans cannot see. It is only when there is a fluorescent substance around, which can absorb the UV light and reemit it as visible light, that we see a tiny light flash. And this is exactly what happens in lightning—and this activity as well.
- Lifesavers Mints—Wint O Green
- Sugar Free Lifesavers Mints—Wint O Green
- Lifesavers Mints—Spear O Mint and/or Pep O Mint
- Other hard candy (optional)
- Dark room
- Bring all of your materials to the room you will be using for this activity, then prepare to turn off the light.
- Note: The electrical discharges created in this activity are tiny and harmless. Although it is the same phenomenon, lightning in storms is created by huge discharges and is dangerous.
- Place one Lifesavers mint between a pair of pliers and turn off the light. Wait a minute or two to let your eyes adjust to the dark, then watch the candy as you crush it. Did you see anything?
- Repeat with all other types of mints. Did you see anything happening as you crushed some types of Lifesavers whereas it did not happen when you crushed other types?
- To confirm your findings, repeat the activity a few times. Does the same phenomenon happen each time with the same type(s) of Lifesavers Mint and not with others?
- You probably detected it for only one of the types of Lifesavers you crushed. Can you find which combination of ingredients is responsible for the phenomenon? You will need some detective skills to find out! Where can you find the ingredients of each type of candy? In what way(s) are the ingredients of the mint that shows the phenomenon different?
- Now, we will investigate what exactly creates the flash. Take another Lifesavers Mint, the type that exhibited the phenomenon, and start exploring. We know the flash happens when we crush the candy with pliers. Does it also happen when you rub two broken pieces together or when you press just enough on the pliers to put the candy under pressure without breaking it?
- Extra: If you are wondering if it happens when you chew the candy, try it out. Chew this type of Lifesaver in a dark room in front of a mirror. Open your mouth wide between chews. Can you see a flash?
- Extra: Investigate other candies containing hard crystalline sugar and the special ingredient. Can you create a flash with those as well?
- Extra: Try to create miniature lightning. Vigorously rub a piece of paper with wool for about a minute. Put a piece of metal (such as aluminum foil) in the center of the paper. Remove the paper and bring your finger close to the metal. Can you create a tiny spark?
当粉碎含糖的Lifesavers Wint O Green Mints时，你是否看到了闪光，但是当粉碎其他类型的Lifesavers Mints时却没有？ 这正是预期的结果。 你需要坚硬的结晶糖和Wint O Green型的人造调味物质来制造闪光。
粉碎硬晶糖产生静电，这可导致微型放电，一种微型闪电。 你很少看到这种闪光是因为放电通常伴有紫外线（UV）光，一种人类看不到的光。 请注意，许多动物，如昆虫和鸟类，可以观察到这种紫外线闪光，因为它们的眼睛对紫外线是敏感的，但人的眼睛却不能。
Lifesavers Wint O Green Mints (and maybe a few other candies) contain a fluorescent substance. Fluorescent substances absorb UV light and release it again as light humans can see. When crushing Lifesavers Wint O Green Mints, the UV light created from crushing the hard crystalline sugar gets absorbed by the fluorescent substance and released again as visible light humans can observe. Voilá—there is your light flash!
Although lots of hard crystalline structures emit UV light when crushed, the crystals in the sugar substitute do not. Therefore, no UV flash and thus no visible flash was seen when crushing Sugar Free Lifesavers Wint O Green Mints.
Wash any sticky parts of the pliers with soapy water and then dry thoroughly. Clean up any candy fragments in your work area.