Questions on shipping & tracking? How do I ...? Tips and troubleshooting?
You have come to the right place! Check out the information and tips below for answers on ordering, shipping and tracking, how to use your Flowtoys, warranty and upgrade questions, and more. If the information below does not answer your questions, please contact us via this contact form.
1. Register/log-in: All customers have to register and log-in to place an order. Logging in often helps eliminate glitches, and enables the cart to accurately calculate shipping costs and know whether you need to pay sales tax.
2. Sales tax: The default address is in the US State of “California” and the sales tax is 8.75%. If you are NOT registered/logged-in, you will see the sales tax applied to your total. If you are shipping to California, you will be charged sales tax. If you are not shipping to California and you have logged in, the sales tax will disappear.
3. Order confirmation: When you have successfully placed your order, you will receive a message noting that your order has been “PROCESSED”. This message is automatically generated and often ends up in a spam folder – please check your spam.
4. Tracking number: When we print your shipping label, you will automatically receive another message noting that your order is “COMPLETED". This message contains your tracking number – it is automated and often ends up in a spam folder, so please check there, if you do not see it in your Inbox within 3 business days of placing your order. Note that Priority Mail International does NOT have tracking. Only US Priority and Express, and Express International have tracking information.
If you would like to place a phone order, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do note that we are a very small company and currently do not have staff who can take phone orders 24/7, but we can set-up a time to take your order.
If you have any questions, we'll happy to help you via e-mail at email@example.com. We will often answer your e-mail almost immediately, though you can expect to hear back from us within 3 business days. If you do not hear back from us within 3 days, it is very likely that your e-mail ended up in our spam folder, which we check about once every two weeks. Please try resending your e-mail from another address or remove flashy emoticons from the message and exclamation marks in the subject line - our spam folder tends to gobble up such messages.
Custom orders and requests
Need your poi or staff to be a specific length? A multi-segmented creation? Extra long props for stilting, or something that is not offered as a standard option on our website? E-mail the toymakers at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
- Service charge for custom props is about $10-20 each, depending on the complexity.
- Custom staff/poi/club length is $10 and there might be a lead-time.
- Custom flowlight wand color fee is $20 and there might be a lead-time of 2 weeks.
- Custom flowlight colors: We are currently too busy to offer the service of making custom flowlight colors, but if you know someone who can solder LEDs, you can carefully open flowlights and switch out the LEDs to whatever color you would like.
Please contact us directly for wholesale orders at email@example.com - Wholesale pricing is offered only to resellers who are purchasing for resale. California resellers need to provide California Resellers license.
Why is my order not going through?
Logging in after placing items in your shopping cart helps eliminate glitches. If this does not work, it could be your payment method or that there is something glitchy with the server or your connection. Refresh your browser, wait awhile and try again. If this doesn’t work, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try our best to help you place a successful order.
How can I change my shipping address?
If for some reason, you cannot update your shipping address and wish to change it, please write down the correct shipping address in the “Customer notes section.”
If you have already placed your order, you can send us a message at email@example.com - please write “change of address” and your “order number” in the subject line. Note that we often send out packages within a day of receiving it. If you provided the incorrect address and we have already shipped your order out, we will not be able to refund you for the lost package or shipping.
Oops I ordered the wrong thing – how can I change my order?
If you placed an order and changed your mind about some detail or other, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - please write “change in order details” and your “order number” in the subject line. Note that we often send out packages within a day of receiving it.
If we receive your message after shipping out your order, you can contact us at email@example.com about how to switch out what you ordered with what you really want. We will try our best to get you the items you really want, but we are not responsible for errors made by customers entering incorrect information, and cannot pay for the incorrect items to be shipped back to us, nor reship the order for free.
Can I get a discount or coupon code?
We offer coupon codes to a few flow artists who have committed their lives to the flow arts and who are actively performing, teaching and innovating. The codes are meant to help support these artists who spread and push the boundaries of the artform.
We do not offer coupon codes to encourage people to buy or sell Flowtoys. We hope that people purchase or promote Flowtoys because they want to enrich their lives through this artform, not because they were given a discount or financial incentive.
We are a small family-run company and see ourselves as providing a service to the flow community, not as sellers of stuff. We offer Flowtoys at the lowest price we can, given their unique designs, high quality materials and construction, and excellent warranty and replacement service.
Coupon codes: We do not use coupon codes to drive sales. We do have coupon codes that we have given to a few dedicated flow artists around the world to help support them as they perform, teach and spread the artform to their communities – we cannot provide customers with these codes for a discount.
If you have a coupon code, you MUST enter it in the web-cart before checkout. If your code does not work, please contact the flow artist for their updated code. Please note that we CANNOT apply coupon codes retroactively or to non-web orders. All codes are one-time per user codes, so if you forget to use it, you can use it the next time.
Special offers: We have a Cyber Monday special for web orders (Monday after US Thanksgiving), and occasional special offers. Check our Facebook page or sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know. We also often have onsite specials when we vend at festivals - check out where we will be and visit us at our cart!
Our website accepts PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. We do not accept bank transfers unless you are a reseller. If you would like to purchase Flowtoys with a check or money order, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Please note that we cannot ship out retail orders until payment has been received.
When will my stuff arrive?
We typically prep, pack and ship your order within 3 business days of receiving it. For both domestic and international orders, you have the options of United States Postal Service (USPS) Priority or Express mail.
For some items, you have the option of First Class shipping. Do note that First Class shipping is the least expensive option, and First Class orders are the lowest priority and are typically packed once a week, i.e. might not be packed within the typical 3 business days. Also shipping time varies and we have no way of knowing how long a First Class package will take to arrive at its destination. Sometimes it's as fast as Priority shipping, but it is not consistent.
For US domestic orders, Priority mail typically takes 2-3 days to arrive from the time the post office receives your package, but there are no guarantees. If you need your shipment in a hurry, please select Express shipping and contact us at email@example.com, so that we may prioritize your order.
Because of the nature of our products, we cannot guarantee that you will receive your order by a particular date. Many of our toys and parts are handmade and we may or may not have everything in stock at the moment. We try our best to keep our website updated and to fill your order as quickly as possible. If there are any foreseeable delays, we will contact you directly. For more on shipping methods, see usps. Arrival times will depend on the destination and your chosen shipping method.
Do you ship internationally?
We ship anywhere that the United States Postal Service ships to, which is almost anywhere in the world. The shipping options presented on our website are USPS, though we sometimes use DHL courier service as we have found that it is faster and more reliable. If you are not able to receive DHL packages, please make a note in the Customer Notes section.
Priority mail international: Shipping price starts at about $20 and typically takes 6-10 business days in shipping transit depending on your destination. This does not include the time it might take to prepare and pack your order. Priority mail has NO TRACKING INFO. It is rare that a package gets lost in the mail and Priority works well in countries with reliable shipping, but boo-boos happen and in this case we will not be able to track the whereabouts of your package. If you are in a country where mail is not reliable, please choose Express shipping!
Express mail international: Shipping price starts at about $30 and typically takes 3-5 business days in shipping transit depending on the destination. This does not include the time it might take to prepare and pack your order. Express shipping has good tracking information and is automatically insured for the first $100. We highly recommend Express shipping for countries where packages tend to "get lost" in the mail.
Shipping time estimates: Please note that these shipping times are not guaranteed and that your package could be held up at the customs office in your country. The final shipping cost will be calculated during checkout after you have entered your shipping address, before you pay, so you may check out the cost of the different shipping options. For more on shipping methods, see usps.
Customs duties: If you are receiving your package in a country outside the USA, you may have to pay customs fees, import duties and/or taxes, which are levied once the package reaches your country. Additional charges for customs clearance must be borne by you; we have no control over these charges and cannot predict what they may be. Customs policies vary widely from country to country; you should contact your local customs office for details.
Can I get a tracking number?
US Domestic orders: When we print your shipping label, you will automatically be sent a message with your USPS tracking number. Please note that the tracking number only becomes active once your package reaches the post office and the USPS scans it in, so you might need to wait a few hours after receiving the email before being able to track your package. Both Priority and Express shipping have tracking numbers and delivery confirmation.
International orders: When we print your shipping label, you will automatically be sent a message containing your USPS customs label number or a tracking number. Please note that the tracking number only becomes active once your package reaches the post office and the USPS scans it in, so you might need to wait a few hours after receiving the email before being able to track your package. Also note that Priority International has NO TRACKING info – the number you see is a customs label number and often is not scanned in by the USPS and cannot be used for tracking. Express mail international has tracking, delivery confirmation and is automatically insured for the first $100.
Tip: Get your friends together for a group purchase and save on shipping! This is especially helpful for international orders as shipping starts at about $20/order.
Can I buy insurance?
Yes you can choose to insure your orders - please include the shipping charges in your insured total if you want shipping cost to be insured as well. If your order exceeds $1000, please contact us directly.
What if my package arrived damaged?
If your package arrived damaged, please take a picture of the parcel before opening it and take a picture of the parts that were damaged. Damage claims can be filed immediately. If you wish to file a claim, you will need to send us a signed letter stating the following:
- date the package was mailed
- order ID number
- description of items shipped
- describe the state of damage
- signature and date
We will file the claim for you and keep you posted on the progress of the claim.
How do I file a claim?
For US parcels, we must wait 21 days before filing a claim. For international parcels, we must wait 45 days. Lost parcels sent to Italy require a 60-day wait before filing. If you wish to file a claim, you will need to send us a signed letter stating the following:
- date the package was mailed
- order ID number
- description of items shipped
- if the package was lost or never received OR
- if it was damaged, describe the state of damage
- signature and date
We will file the claim for you and keep you posted on the progress of the claim.
Consisting of the versatile flowlight and a series of click-in caps, connectors and tubes that are all interchangeable, the Modular System enables the creation of almost any prop imaginable! Flowlights are the light “pixel” in the system – they can stand alone as an LED lightstick, and are also interchangeable and linkable. All caps and connectors click into either end of any flowtoys custom tubing.
Opening the battery door: We designed the battery door so that we wouldn’t need a screwdriver to open it. The battery door fits within the flowlight’s compact form and is designed to be secure, quick to open and help spread light around the battery without compromising the strength of the shell anymore than necessary. Sometimes opening the door can be challenging like a puzzle box, but there are several tricks to make it easy for everyone!
Basically there is only one direction in which you need to apply pressure to the door to release it and there are several ways to apply that pressure:
There is a slight lip at the tip of the door and the lip needs to go down towards the belly of the light and forwards towards the head of the light. There are “feelers” at the top of the battery door and they need to be released before you can push the door forwards.
You can either use your thumb or another hard object (the tail end of another flowlight works really well) to push down and forwards on the tip of the door. Do not push on the main part of the door itself – this will not release the internal catch. Once you have released the battery door, you can pull firmly on the door to separate the door from the light and access the battery compartment.
Inserting and removing the battery: Insert the positive end of the battery (pointy end) in the direction of the head of the flowlight (pointy end). Push the battery forwards and down. All flowlights that were released since 2010 have a transparent battery pull tab – make sure you insert the battery with the tab across the bottom of the compartment. Pull the tab to release battery. A firm tap on a table or other semi-hard object will also cause the battery to pop out of the compartment - we like using the edge of a bin when changing lots of batteries.
There are 11 different light modes in every flowlight designed for a variety of applications from ambient lighting to a convenient flashlight to safety lighting and of course modes that leave awesome trails when the light is moving. All Generation 2 flowlights (01.11 on circuit board and later) also have an additional superbright dimension!
2 dimensions of modes: The first dimension has 5 modes and the second dimension has 6 modes. Activate your flowlight by pressing the single button above the battery door to get to dimension 1, mode 1. Press the button again to reach the next mode. The 6th button press will be “off”. To enter the next dimension, hold the button down until the flowlight blinks. Press the button to navigate within this dimension. At any point you can turn the flowlight off by holding the button down for just under 2 seconds.
Superbright modes (G2 flowlights only): After D2 mode 6, the light enters D1 mode1 in superbright. Continue pressing the button to navigate through all 11 modes in superbright, which runs the battery twice as hard. Uses up the battery in less than half the time, but great for performance! Spectrums operate all normal modes at superbright, so there aren't separate superbright modes.
Memory mode: The flowlight remembers what mode it was in last. If the flowlight is off and you hold the button down, it will turn on, blink, end enter the last mode it was in. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of lights, and always prefer using the same mode.
If you have two or more flowlights in a tube - as in flowstaffs, flowchucks, flowpoi duo and trio - you will need to attach the opposite ends of the flowlight to each other for the lights to fit properly. This also helps with sliding them in and out of the tubes.
Be sure to click them together and apart sideways (laterally as shown in the picture), not up and down in the direction of the pivot (vertically), as this can cause some splitting at the seam and weaken the connection.
Crystal cases are designed with facets that line up with the button of the flowlight no matter which way your flowlight is orientated, so you can feel and turn on your lights in the dark.
We prefer inserting our flowlights with the head facing downwards as there are two LEDs at the head and this orientation makes for more dramatic light patterns. We offer strong o-rings that you can attach to the tail of your flowlight to enable you to remove your flowlight from its crystal case more easily.
We recommend a single loop handle for a secure, versatile and comfortable grip. There are several ways to attach a single loop handle. The pictures depict our favorite method: this grip is secure and you can comfortably spin with your hands relaxed.
Tip: You will need to flip the webbing over as you pull it over your fingers.
Adjusting your poi leash length to fit your body and style is an easy and important step to optimizing your poi experience.
- Loosen the knot on the end with the extra cord.
- Move the position of the knot to lengthen or shorten your leash.
- Test the length and adjust as needed, ensure the length of both leashes match.
- Tighten the knot, cut off the extra cord and melt the knot to prevent it from coming undone or fraying. This is an important step to prevent your leash from coming undone.
The result is a high performance handle-leash with minimal hardware or knots - great for wraps, hyperloops and other moves where your leashes catch or tangle.
Tip: A popular leash length is from your hand to your shoulder.
1. Thread string through the floop, then thread both ends of string through the hole in the knob.
2. Pull the floop through the knob using the string.
3. Thread the ends of the string through the washer(s). Pull the loop through the washer(s) leaving a small loop at the end of the floop.
4. Fold back the loop at the end of the floop until it sits snugly over all the washers.
5. Pull the floop up until the washers all nest snugly in the knob. You are ready to flow!
• Thread flowcord through metal o-ring provided and then through crystal case/bridge cap. O-ring should be on handle side of leash.
• Thread the free end of flowcord through the ring.
• Adjust leash length as needed.
• Tie a simple overhand knot (below) on the non-handle end to secure the leash.
Finishing the leash end:
• Tighten the knot. Cut excess cord off with scissors.
• Melt the end of the knot with a lighter - while the end is still soft/melted, use the edge of the lighter to flatten and shape the end of the knot onto the rest of the knot. This ensures that the knot will not come undone.
Tip #1: if the melted plastic sticks to the lighter, it’s too hot. Wait a second before shaping it.
Tip#2: Remove the soft bumper from the bridge cap to allow easy access to the bridge. Tie, link or loop your leash around the bridge and pull the cap through the loop.
Inserting bumper correctly into bridge cap: It is important that the bumper is inserted into the bridge cap properly, so that the cap clips onto the tube securely. Align the bumper’s teeth with the buttons inside the cap. Use a flowlight or tube to push the bumper in. Be sure the buttons in the bridge cap snap securely into the holes of the tube.
TIP! It helps to use a bit of "monkey grease" (oils from your hands) or a tiny bit of vaseline on the parts of the tubing that rub against the caps and connectors. This prevents stiction and squeakyness, and generally makes interacting with your caps and connectors a more smooth experience.
ATTACHING/DETACHING CAPS TO TUBES
To attach caps to tubing, place cap over tube, push and twist until cap buttons click into the tubing holes. To detach, twist to release the buttons and pull.
ATTACHING CAPS TO FLOWLIGHTS
Push the narrow “head” of the flowlight between the “teeth” of the bumper inside the flower or bridge cap. The flowlight should hang freely and pull all linked lights out of the tube when you remove the cap.
ATTACHING/DETACHING STAFF CONNECTORS TO TUBING
To attach, insert the tubing connector into a tube, twist until connector buttons click into the holes securely.
To detach, twist the tubes in opposite directions to disengage the buttons from the holes then pull. The buttons are slightly sloped in one direction and twisting one way will release one half of the connector, while twisting the other way releases the other half. Try not to twist them out the wrong way as this can weaken the part. It is easier to feel the correct way when twisting the tube, than to see it.
Flowmass is slightly tapered with more material on one end - make sure the heavier end is installed at the far end of your prop, where it counts.
INSTALLING/REMOVING FLOWMASS ONTO CRYSTAL CASES
There is a circular symbol on the flowmass, which should align with the button facet on the crystal case, which also aligns with the flowlight button. You MUST align the symbol on the flowmass with the button facet on the crystal case before installing the mass otherwise you might rip the crystal case. This alignment also allows you to feel for the button from the outside, and creates the most aesthetically perfect positioning of the mass with respect to the crystal case.
Thread the leash through the mass and use the leash to pull the crystal case into the mass. You can hold the leash with one hand and pull the mass along the length of the case with your other hand until the mass is where you want it. If this is difficult, try hooking your handles or leash onto a doorknob or other secure object to pull on it.
Removing flowmass from crystal case: You can remove flowmass by holding the mass in one hand and pulling on the leash with the other.
INSTALLING/REMOVING FLOWMASS ONTO TUBING
To add mass to tubing, apply a little bit of vaseline/petroleum jelly to the inside surface of the mass and slide the tube through it. Ensure that there is enough clearance at the top for your flower caps to click in properly and securely.
TIP: Do not use vaseline for mass on crystal cases, as this can cause the mass to slip out. We do NOT recommend using the same mass for crystal cases and tubing.
Removing flowmass from tubes: We lubricate mass for tubing and there is usually enough lube to be able to skooch the mass off the tube. If this is difficult, the goal is to be able to push on the edge of mass without squeezing the mass, as this causes the mass to tighten more. If you can find a piece of tube/pipe that just fits over your flowtoys tube, you can slip it over the flowtoys tube and push against the edge of the mass to get it out. Or you can use the edge of a table.
After extensive testing of liquids ranging from denatured alcohol to water-based personal lubricants, including shampoo, hair gel and more, we have found what appears to be the best suitable solution: Hairspray! We have tested an all-natural hand-pump hairspray, as well as old-school "Aquanet" aerosal "ultrahold" hairspray and they both work well when used sufficiently.
- Grip: for your flowtoys :)
- Your Flowtoy: to grip!
- Scissors: to cut the grip
- Center-mark or decorations: if you would like to add them under your clear grip :)
- Damp rag: for cleaning excess hairspray off your flowtoy, some dish-soap may help
- Dry rag: for drying stuff!
- Hairspray: to lubricate grip during application. Any brand or style of standard handpump or aerosol hairspray should work. We have tested an all-natural brand and "aquanet". It is possible that a hairspray containing moisturizers of some kind could remain slick and never dry to a sticky finish - do not use if this is the case.
TEST YOUR HAIRSPRAY FIRST!
Spray a small amount on any hard surface and let dry. It should feel smooth and dry, not slick or oily!
You will be using hairspray as a lubricant for sliding the grip onto your tube. It will dry and work like an adhesive to firmly secure the grip. The tube and grip will try to wipe the hairspray off each other as you slide them together, so it is important to apply the spray to the tube AND to the inside of the grip. If you find the grip sticking during application, back it off and add more hairspray! Also the excess liquid will drip inside your tube, so be sure to always keep the tube pointing down, sliding the grip up from underneath!
1. If you ordered the grip by the foot, you will need to determine the amount of grip you'd like on your Flowtoy. For a staff we recommend about 50% of the staff-length or whatever you think looks good. We like the grip to end at the end of the woodcore, or at the end of the next flowlight, on each side, if the woodcore is short.
2. Cut the grip to the length you choose. Use sharp scissors and try to cut perfectly 90 degrees to the tube, you can trim off any uneven parts before applying the grip to the tube. DO NOT cut the grip with a knife ON the tube as this will make a weak point in the tube, which can cause breakage.
3. Mark one end of the grip position on the tube, so you know where to stop when applying the grip.
4. If applying a center-mark: Find the center of your staff by balancing it on a finger, roll your finger side to side to adjust. Make a mark.
5. Remove all caps and lights from the tube – the tube will be getting wet!
6. Clean any dust/grit off your staff tube and grip-tube.
7. Apply center-mark or any decoration you would like under your clear grip :)
8. Spray hairspray inside both ends of grip tube. It does not need to be dripping, but as much of the inside of the grip-tube as possible should be wet. DO NOT DO THIS OUTSIDE IN THE SUN OR WIND. This will cause the hairspray to dry too quickly.
9. Spray hairspray on the outside of the flowtoy tube from the grip-mark all the way to the end. The spray may dry quickly so be prepared to move fast after this, especially in a hot/dry environment.
10. Hold your flowtoy tube with the grip-mark on top, the tube pointing down, and insert it into the grip. You may need to twist, push and pull the grip-tube on and it will likely catch as it stretches over the end. Simply coax it along, and DO NOT STOP until your grip is in place! IF IT EVER FEELS STUCK, TWIST AND REMOVE IT AND ADD MORE HAIRSPRAY TO THE STICKY AREA.
11. Squeeze out any major air bubbles, and be sure the grip is settled and not stretched unevenly along the tube.
12. Wipe off any excess hairspray from your flowtoy and the surrounding area with a damp rag and dish-soap if necessary.
13. Let dry until completely stuck! This may take a day or more. If you can shift/slide the grip at all, it is NOT dry. DO NOT LEAVE IN THE SUN! The sun degrades plastics and could cause an adverse reaction with the hairspray. Of course the warmer and dryer the location, the faster it will dry.
Does your flowlight display a single flashing LED?
The single flashing LED is a low battery indicator. This is a new feature that we have added in lights made since mid-2011. As flowlights run at full brightness throughout their battery life, it used to be difficult to tell when the battery was low or didn't have enough juice, as a light will turn on at full brightness and then turn off shortly after, causing people to think that there was something wrong with the light. The low battery indicator now resolves this issue.
If you put a fresh battery in and it still flashes - press the button! The flowlight remembers what mode it was last in, so it might have gotten back into low battery mode.
Does your flowlight turn off easily when bumped OR dim out OR turn off shortly after it has been turned on for no apparent reason?
99% of apparently faulty flowlight behavior is simply a battery issue. Charge/change you battery, clean your contacts, check the following:
1. Use only rechargeables or high quality alkalines. The circuitry is optimized for rechargeables. The light is bright and draws a lot of power, so cheapo batteries don’t last long, can’t keep up and makes the light dim out and turn off easily. The difference can be the light lasting under 30 minutes or 7 hours!
2. Your battery is low. Try a battery that you are sure is good; switch your batteries around to double check. It can be very hard to tell when the battery is low and the light may appear faulty, as it turns on at full brightness and quickly dims out or shuts off for no apparent reason.
Note that rechargeable NiMH batteries do NOT come charged, as they discharge overtime. You need to charge them shortly before use. A few days is ok, but they might have lost more than half their charge if they were charged over 2-3 weeks ago. Li-ion batteries hold their charge, so you can charge them months ahead of time.
3. There is something obstructing battery contact! Check that the clear battery pull tab is not wedged between your battery and the battery contact.
Check that your batteries are clear of physical debris. The battery connection is tight, so the plastic cover on some batteries gets torn off a little and sticks to the underside of the battery, preventing a good connection. We trim the extra plastic off all our batteries before sending them out.
4. There is oxidation on your battery contacts. Do the battery or spring contacts have black marks or debris on them? This is oxidation from the battery’s contacts caused by friction/vibration. Clean the battery and battery springs with your fingers, a clean cloth or paper towel and apply a tiny bit of petroleum jelly (vaseline) to the springs. This works wonders to ensure electrical conductivity and prevent future oxidation.
If you have checked all tips and the problem persists, please refer to our warranty page.
Did your finger loop turn inside out? Having difficulties getting the battery out? Tips on how to address these and other nifty tips on optimizing your flowlight wand experience.
FLOWTOYS AND SAND/GRIT
Sand and grit can get inside your caps and connectors and make them difficult to put on/take off. If you are using your flowtoys at the beach or any other sandy area, blow out or clean your caps and connectors of any sand before attaching them to your tubing. If your caps and tubes feel gritty, clean them and apply a bit of vaseline for lubrication.
In 2005, we received a report of a flowstaff shattering. We were quite surprised, as polycarbonate is used in bulletproofing, so we did some experiments and discovered that glowsticks can make polycarbonate brittle!
Our experiment: We placed glowsticks in separate polycarbonate tubes and sealed the tubes with caps, and the results were as follows:
- an un-"snapped" inactive glowstick had no effect on the polycarbonate tube
- a "snapped" (lit/activated) glowstick caused the tube to crack in a few spots when hit hard with a hammer the day after the glowstick was activated
- a “snapped” and cut open (leaking) glowstick caused the tube to crack apart into many pieces without me even touching it!
We experimented with top-quality glowsticks and are not surprised that, in the extreme conditions (e.g. burningman) or with lower quality glowsticks, enough chemicals could have been emitted to cause an entire staff to shatter.
More findings: We did some research and found this explanation from the GE chemical compatibilities guide to polycarbonate -- Esters: Cause severe crystallization. Partial solvents. Avoid.
Glowsticks contain esters and work like this: There are two fluids separated by a glass vial inside a plastic one (the glowstick) when you bend the stick it breaks the vial and the fluids mix. The hydrogen peroxide oxidizes the phenyl oxalate ester, to form phenol and an unstable peroxyacid ester. The unstable peroxyacid ester decomposes, resulting in phenol and a cyclic peroxy compound. The cyclic peroxy compound decomposes to carbon dioxide. This decomposition reaction releases the energy that excites the fluorescent dye that emits the light/color of the glowstick. Interesting stuff huh?
We are a very small family company and do not have team of tele-zombies waiting to take your call, but you can always reach us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will answer your e-mail within 3 business days. If you do not hear back from us, it is very likely that your e-mail ended up in our spam folder, which we check about once every two weeks. You can also try resending your e-mail from another address, remove flashy emoticons from the message and exclamation marks in the subject line - our spam folder tends to gobble up such messages.