Author Topic: Luminescent Liquid Effect  (Read 7095 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Lizzie

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 75
    • View Profile
Luminescent Liquid Effect
« on: Apr 04, 2008, 07:26 am »
A bit of a weird question :

A friend who direct shows for a few local amateur/community companies, has been asked by a friend (yes, I know, it’s all “He said”, “She said”), about using a combination of chemical liquids to produce a luminescent/fluorescent effect on stage.

The chemicals are “phenyl ester with a fluorescent dye and hydrogen peroxide”, and they hope to have an actor holding a bowl with one of them (a clear liquid) in, and another actor pour the second (also a clear liquid) into it, and it miraculously become luminescent.

Given the case going through the UK courts at the moment http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7328892.stm which involved the proposed use of hydrogen peroxide for explosive purposes, I’m inclined to suggest they run screaming from the whole idea – not least because buying the stuff might raise eyebrows – but aside from that, has anyone ever seen such an effect used on stage ? Or anything similar ? Or does anyone know enough about it to say if it’s a good idea or not ? Or can suggest a safe way of producing such an effect ?

Many thanks
Lizzie


RuthNY

  • BTDT Editors
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA Eastern Region Stage Manager Councilor, Chair of the National Stock Committee
  • Current Gig: SWEENEY TODD
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #1 on: Apr 04, 2008, 09:02 am »
My high school chemistry teacher used to demonstrate tricks like this for us on a regular basis, in the classroom,

Why don't you do some research by asking someone who specializes in chemicals?
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
--Alan Alda

sievep

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 204
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AGMA
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #2 on: Apr 04, 2008, 05:43 pm »
The off broadway production of De La Guarda did something like this, and I think it might work for you . . . .

Get ahold of some of those safety glowsticks, or whatever glowsticks kids are using the clubs these days, and safely cut one end off.  Inside you will find liquid and a glass vial, filled with another liquid.  When these two liquids are mixed together, they will glow.

Granted I have no idea what chemicals these are or what would happen, say, if you got some in your eye, but I have used this trick before with much success.  Just a suggestion.
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

kiwitechgirl

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 200
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #3 on: Apr 04, 2008, 07:14 pm »
Washing powder will glow under UV light; dissolve some in water, put UV fluorescent tubes in and hit the switch as the two containers of water are poured together, and theoretically you should get a nice glowing liquid!  Might take some practice in terms of timing, and putting electronic starters in the fluoro fittings will help them strike almost immediately, but it's safe and easy.

Tempest

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 374
  • Gender: Female
  • Learn to love chaos, then tame it.
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: The Center For Puppetry Arts
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #4 on: Apr 05, 2008, 02:31 pm »
<snip>
Granted I have no idea what chemicals these are or what would happen, say, if you got some in your eye, but I have used this trick before with much success.  Just a suggestion.

I've gotten glow stick liquid in my eye before (loooong story that surprisingly did not involve alcohol).  It didn't hurt, and I didn't even notice until my friends freaked out and told me to look in the mirror.  Now THAT was freaky looking; it spread across the whole surface of my eye and my entire eye ball was glowing!  With little kids tendancies to chew on things that stuff is all very NON-toxic.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

avkid

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 259
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Philip LaDue
  • Affiliations: RFL, IATSE
  • Current Gig: Carpenter/Electrician at Papermill Playhouse
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #5 on: Apr 05, 2008, 04:00 pm »
Glow sticks are a great example of a simple chemical reaction with spectacular results.

"How Light Sticks Work"
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

jwl_868

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 20
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #6 on: Apr 07, 2008, 04:41 pm »
Be careful with hydrogen peroxide.  It is available in several dilutions.  The drugstore version is 3%.  The beautician’s version is 6%.  Then, with industrial grades, at concentrations greater than 8%, one has an NFPA Class 1 oxidizer and then Class 2 at 27.5%.  (That is, the concentration is greater than 8%, you must meet NFPA standards to store it.)  Merely identifying the chemical is not enough in this case, the concentration is crucial for safety.

No doubt the 3% solution is what is most readily available to you.  Go to a drug store and read the cautionary label.  Or go online and search for “hydrogen peroxide MSDS 3%”.   

The chemistry of the glow sticks doesn’t give the hydrogen peroxide concentration.  Maybe its less than 8% (at least one glowstick vendor implies a 3% solution); maybe its higher.  The glow effect may be influenced by the hydrogen peroxide concentration.  How viscous is the second liquid (the oxalate ester) – just about any liquid can be mixed in a thin, flexible tube, but just pouring to fluids into a bowl won’t guarantee mixing.

One way to answer your question about the use of the hydrogen peroxide is: Will the actors on stage use the same protective measures that are recommended by the chemical vendor while they are handling and pouring this chemical?  Will the chemical be controlled offstage as recommended by the chemical vendor – that is, storage, handling by stage crew, etc?  Will there be absolute control over this material? 

What if the actor stumbles?  What if the hydrogen peroxide spills?  What if it splashes?  Will it damage curtains and costumes or sets?  Can one afford this damage either in cost or time to correct it?

How responsible are the cast and crew?  How crowded are things backstage? 


There are a lot of unknowns in this (and many only you know for sure.).  In my own conservative opinion, I don’t think handling an open container of hydrogen peroxide (regardless of the concentration) on a stage is a good idea.  (That’s not to say that there is no way to make it safe, but as presented, thee are too many unknowns.)


(Sorry for the long reply.)

Joe

Lizzie

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 75
    • View Profile
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2008, 11:15 am »
Thanks for all your replies. I've heard back that after having all the problems and dangers outlined to them, the director decided to kill the effect - to general relief all round from the people who were going to have to make it work  ! For a 4-performance community theatre show, it just wasn't worth it.

KMC

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 962
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: Project Manager, Systems Integration
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2008, 12:03 pm »
Lizzie - thanks for updating us on the final outcome of this. 

I'm glad the folks on this site were able to offer you some advice, and hopefully this information was helpful to you in the decision making process.

With any effect it's always important to weigh the risk against the reward.  It's great to have the "wow" factor, but at the end of the day the first priority is that everyone goes home safe.

I believe we've come full circle here.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2008, 12:10 pm by kmc307 »
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
2722 Views
Last post May 05, 2007, 11:28 am
by Mac Calder
3 Replies
2345 Views
Last post Feb 13, 2012, 10:24 pm
by tdsmith
2 Replies
1540 Views
Last post May 20, 2016, 07:34 pm
by Michelle R. Wood