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Those who follow Jeri’s mad-scientist-like curiosity and sci-tech explorations in her many YouTube vids know that she’s recently been hot to create electroluminescence. In this vid, she tries to make her own phoshor. It didn’t quite work out, but she explains the process and then shows something cool that she did discover, triboluminescence, the optical phenom that occurs when crystal (or other) material is crushed, rubbed, pulled apart, etc. (think: Wint-O-Green Life Savers). Actually, when it’s crystals being crushed, it’s more specifically known as fractoluminescence. Keep at it, Jeri! We know you’ll have a homebrewed EL display in no time.

Triboluminescence – Batteries, Glow Paint and Fire

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.



  1. TotalMonkey says:

    Jeri is awesome. I mean totally.

  2. Carnes says:

    Oh gosh, taking apart batteries. First time i did it was a C or D.. with no eye protection. I pulled a pin out of the top and gray goo blasted out and stuck to the wall several feet away. AWESOME! That might have been the last time i took one apart too.

    It’s funny to look back at all the exploration and experimenting that should have resulted in a lost eye or limb (unless you lost something.. then i apologize for making light of it).

  3. Math Campbell says:

    As she skims over briefly in the video, you can test out fractoluminescence yourself with sugar crystals.

    Bigger the crystals the better for some odd reason…