Get Your ChemLight On

The ChemLight lightstick, more commonly known as a glow stick, is in use by militaries throughout the world as a light source, marking areas, or for survival. It was developed more than 45 years ago for the U.S. Navy to use aboard their ships. This is a simple yet effective light source that is activated by bending it to break the separator for the two chemicals to mix, creating light.

A Brilliant Idea

It's a really great invention that doesn't generate heat or flames, has no gas smell or creates any sparks, and is also non-flammable & non-toxic. ChemLight products can be stored for up to 4 years from the date of manufacture and last about 12 hours in use.

How ChemLight Works

When you bend a ChemLight, you break the separator between the two chemicals that cause it to glow—this starts a chemical reaction. Once the chemicals mix, they create an oxidation-reduction reaction that produces light. The light is created when electrons are transferred from one molecule to another in what's called an excited state, and then they return back to their original energy state creating photons—or particles of light—in the process. Excited states are unstable, so the electron can't stay in that state for long, which is why ChemLights only produce light for a short period of time— typically around four to eight hours. But don't worry, once you activate a ChemLight, it will continue to produce light until it runs out of energy—you can't turn it off early.

Uses for ChemLights

Now that we understand how ChemLights work let's take a look at some of their various uses. As we mentioned before, one everyday use for ChemLights is as a portable light source. They're popular among campers and hikers because they don't require batteries or an external power source—simply bend and snap them to activate them. Soldiers also use them as flares or to mark enemy positions. And if you find yourself in a dark movie theater looking for your seat, you can even use them as impromptu seat finders!  The next time you find yourself in need of a portable light source for survival, camping, or even mundane uses such as finding your car late at night, remember the trusty ChemLight! Now that you know how they work and some of their various uses, we hope you'll never find yourself in the dark again—literally or figuratively speaking. Thanks for reading!

Military Uses

There are many military uses for the ChemLight lightstick: 

  • Personal or collective lighting for which the light stick is used as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Marking and identification of warfighters,
  • Identification Friend or Foe (IFF)
  • Marking out of routes, marking of zones for medical triage or sanitary evacuations (MEDEVAC) 
  • Emergency lighting in field hospitals
  • Marking of vehicle convoys, route marking 
  • Illumination of the battlefield, assistance with progression through smoke 
  • Regulation marking of buildings, especially during street fighting
  • Marking devices or people 
  • Target spotting

Survival Uses for a ChemLight

In survival mode, these lightsticks come in very handy as well: 

  • Follow in a Formation 
  • Mark Distances for Night 
  • Mark Your Location at Night for Rescuers
  • Marking Various Hazards When Fishing At Night

Infrared ChemLight Lightsticks

There are also Infrared versions that are only visible when you use Night Vision Goggles, also known as NVGs. They are not visible to the naked eye and are great for security measures and reduce the risk of others discovering locations you mark. One of the best things about using lightsticks is that they are entirely safe and non-toxic. They are also easy to use and store, which makes them ideal for survival situations. Whether you're marking a trail or simply need a little light to see in the dark, lightsticks are a great option. ChemLights are great versatile tools with many different uses, especially in a survival setting. Make sure to add them to your list of essential gear!

A Bright Conclusion

We hope you found this article illuminating (pun intended) and that you now have a better understanding of how these little lights work and some of their many uses. ChemLight lightsticks come in various sizes and light colors. Aviation Survival has what you need for your survival. Fill out our contact form or call us at 321-821-4724 or email us at [email protected].