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Thread: Diaper Tape Luminescence

  1. #1

    Default Diaper Tape Luminescence

    I was putting on an Abena a couple nights ago, and I had the lights off in my room, when I noticed something cool. When you first peel the tapes off their pads, they actually emit light. It's been reported for a long time (THE LUMINESCENCE OF ADHESIVE TAPE) and I've seen it before with just scotch tape, but it's really quite bright with the diaper tapes. Turns out it's an electrical discharge between locally charged parts of the tape exciting the air in the gap between the two parts of the tape. \science

  2. #2

    Default

    its caused by static discharge. you're seeing little lightning bolts jumping between the tape and the land. when you peel a tape up quickly it displaces electrons. not sure if they accumulate on the tape or the land, but they jump to equalize. It's very easy to do unrolling some duct tape.

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by bambinod View Post
    not sure if they accumulate on the tape or the land, but they jump to equalize.
    Actually, it works if you stick the sticky sides of two pieces of tape together and pull them apart, too. The charged regions are transient, and I imagine you get regions both polarities on both sides. There was actually an article in Nature showing that it emits x-rays when you do it in a vacuum chamber.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by komodo View Post
    There was actually an article in Science showing that it emits x-rays when you do it in a vacuum chamber.
    I didn't know a vacuum was required for it to emit x-rays?

    And I think you get x-rays from just about any spark that jumps, be it static or lightning.

  6. #6

    Default

    Here's the article: Sticky tape generates X-rays : Nature News I think the reason it needs to be in a vacuum is that the voltage needed to arc is lower at atmospheric pressure, so perhaps in vacuum the electrons are more energetic. This is all speculative though, I don't think the researchers even know the origin of the x-rays, though they did not detect x-rays at normal pressure.

  7. #7

    Default

    I have seen this miniature lightning storm many times while putting on a diaper in the dark. It not only happens when peeling the tapes, but can also happen when merely unfolding the diaper.

  8. #8

    Default

    Hm, I'll have to try that.

    Also, if you have clothes that are full of static cling, to the point that they give you small shocks, put them on in the dark. It's quite the light show.

  9. #9
    FlowPup

    Default

    The stuffed dog that I sleep with lights up the room with all the static electricity generated by rubbing against my rough-textured blanket. Sometimes I will rub the stuffed dog on the blanket to entertain myself when I can't get to sleep. Didn't know diapers gave of static electricity though. That's pretty cool.

  10. #10

    Default

    It looks a lot different than a normal static discharge, the tape itself seems to glow for a bit, which is probably why they have trouble figuring out the mechanism.

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