Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

I have this early century and unfortunately, the original wax was too far gone to save it and I am an experimental sort of person. I went ahead and made my own goo after spending hours and hours researching and trial and erroring my way to the end goal. Which I am pleased to say, we've crossed the finish line. (Thank you to the wonderful minds who have laid out instructions for us budding DIY lamp enthusiasts! This site is great!! I couldn't have done it without you!!)

ANYWAY...

Just the other day I decided that the flow was not quite perfect, so I added some PG to the master fluid but I was not as delicate as I should have been... When I poured the PG in, the goo was hot and flowing and the swoosh that the PG made when it was poured in caused the goo to whip around and when things settled again, there were bubbles. Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles!!! There was no longer perfect, silky goo...just a honeycomb of bubbles. I was immediately depressed and was filled with anger at the sight of that lamp I've been working on for months that was nothing but a bubbly mess.

Well, I guess I like challenges... I read on this site that there are a couple of methods of de-bubbling goo. Some say this or that method has worked, some say nothing works. I figured I would try every method...anything to get rid of those idiot bubbles within my new goo.

I boiled the lamp (fluid in another container, cap off) that helped a bit but still a bit bubbly..

I tried just leaving only the goo in the lamp and letting it run for an hour or so. Still bubbly...

I tried stretching the coil so that it touches all sides at the bottom, still bubbly...

Then I thought maybe the warm up cycle is creating this problem??? The "spikes" in the first phase looked smooth and bubble free but then when the spikes fall and things start lifting again, those stupid bubbles appear. Perhaps I should try a dimmer, warm up the lamp VERY slowly, and maybe there would be no "boiling" goo???

I let the lamp warm up for half a day on the dimmer (1/2 way up on the sliding switch) and this helped tremendously! There were still some bubbles within the goo but nowhere near as many as before.

Once the lamp was up to normal operating temperature, the bubbles were still there but they were now all at the top in the goo.... SO, I read that vinegar is a great way to banish suds if there is too much soap in a dishwasher or the like...

I thought... well... do I want to see some nice goo or do I want to look at bubbly garbage?

So I dribbled about two tablespoons of vinegar into the bubbly goo at the top of the lamp and instantly, those bubbles popped, the goo fell to the bottom of the lamp, mixed in with the other goo and now ladies and gentlemen, there are considerably fewer bubbles. I am not saying this goo is COMPLETELY free of bubbles, there are some occasionally but mostly- just that waxy goodness that we all enjoy.

Do this at your own discretion of course... it worked for me! 

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That's good to know may try out, thanks for sharing!

Something else to consider that what may be doing it is the acid in the vinegar. White Vinegar is 5% acetic acid, and Cleaning Vinegar is 6%, (which is about 20% more acidic by volume), only thing negative I can think of is it affect the coil in time. So for 2 tablespoons of vinegar added that may be a drop or two of acetic acid by volume of whole lamp.

very interesting. I wonder how theese bubbles develop anyway because as you say its all smooth when spiking. I think some problems can be solved by simply letting the lamp sit. I've had more than one globe with sticky issues so I didnt use them for maybe half a year or longer amd when I tried again they just worked without any stickieness...also cloudy globes seem to clear up a lot when sitting next to a heat source like a radiator or so for a couple of weeks/months.

it might be why steric acid was in the original formula?

Ok, I'm intrigued. 

* What kind of vinegar?  White vinegar?  Apple cider vinegar?
* How has it held up over a few runs?
* Have you noticed any cloudiness in the fluid or other effects?

I used white vinegar. It held up well but the bubbles in the goo came back…and then I figured out why I had so many bubbles… I used a clear shampoo as a surfactant… the main ingredient was SLS but since it was a SHAMPOO it caused a lot of bubbling inside the goo. (DUH)  I have since replaced the master fluid and used a more straight forward SLS with the same goo and new master fluid and nowwwwww I have no bubbles at all. It all had to do with the surfactant. Lesson learned! To get back to using just a touch of vinegar for normal bubble problems, I’d still say it helps.

Ant Bee said:

Ok, I'm intrigued. 

* What kind of vinegar?  White vinegar?  Apple cider vinegar?
* How has it held up over a few runs?
* Have you noticed any cloudiness in the fluid or other effects?

I have to edit this a bit- it seems that if approximately two tablespoons of white vinegar is added to the master fluid, THIS will significantly reduce bubbles in goo. I’ve experimented with a couple of my other lamps and adding the vinegar to the master fluid while the lamp is cool seems to really do the trick. In retrospect I really should have taken before and after pictures… I wasn’t sure if this method would work at all so I didn’t bother. I’ll whip up a batch of goo and try to make it all bubbly, take a picture for you guys and then add vinegar and take an after picture. 

I have now found that adding too much vinegar will utterly destroy the goo… maybe it’s best to simply separate the goo from the master fluid, heat the goo alone, let it sit until the extra water within separates… more experiments to do! 

The master fluid bubble will still come back without the addition of something 

I've tried removing fluid and 
Heating the wax to 180 to decrease density
Mixing the wax while hot
Vacuum pumping out bubbles
None of this worked

I've come to the conclusion that Its caused by the deterioration of chemicals in the wax over time 

Even see those small brown chunks in the wax?
That's the steric acid that went bad from use over time

You get the same if you overdo the steric wax when blending a new batch
I'm willing to bet that the Steric Acid has the same effect as vinegar




Jsmooth said:

I have now found that adding too much vinegar will utterly destroy the goo… maybe it’s best to simply separate the goo from the master fluid, heat the goo alone, let it sit until the extra water within separates… more experiments to do! 

Agreed. That’s proven the same for me as well. Do you still suppose that the surfactant plays a part in the bubbly goo? I first used SLS based shampoo- serious bubbles everywhere. Then I used a SLS based hand soap with very few other ingredients- same thing. I am now looking in to ordering SLES in the purist form and using only enough to coat the inside of the globe. What do you think?

Claude J said:

The master fluid bubble will still come back without the addition of something 

I've tried removing fluid and 
Heating the wax to 180 to decrease density
Mixing the wax while hot
Vacuum pumping out bubbles
None of this worked

I've come to the conclusion that Its caused by the deterioration of chemicals in the wax over time 

Even see those small brown chunks in the wax?
That's the steric acid that went bad from use over time

You get the same if you overdo the steric wax when blending a new batch
I'm willing to bet that the Steric Acid has the same effect as vinegar




Jsmooth said:

I have now found that adding too much vinegar will utterly destroy the goo… maybe it’s best to simply separate the goo from the master fluid, heat the goo alone, let it sit until the extra water within separates… more experiments to do! 

Im not positive the SURFACTANT has anything to do with the bubbles

They are NOT air bubbles but bubbles of master fluid
Message me if you need SLES

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