I got myself a project here. Built this 1 meter high lava lamp (see picture). The basics include benzyl alcohol, water and salt. Got a bit of surfactant in there (SLS).
The problem I have is that the water turns cloudy because of the salt (creating an emulsion). As soon as I start to reach the point where I added enough salt the water turns milky. If I add fresh water the problem goes away but the benzyl alcohol is too heavy.
I experimented with different ways to increase the density of the water (sugar - creates a mess, other salts - more mess, turpentine (to reduce the BA density - got 3 phases (funny), glycerine - everything dissolved in each other). So I am a but stuck.
I am a chemical engineer so am thinking about adding a demulsifier but I am afraid this might counter the effect of the surfactant making me end in one blob of BA bouncing up and down.
Any tips ? Thanks in advance.
Salt can turn the water cloudy but it depends on what salt you are using - pure salt such as picking / canning salt or epson salts can work ok. I have redone and aggusted lamps with salt and it does cloud the lamp while cool but i have found that it goes when the lamp heats up as the salts desolve.
People on hear have had better luck though with salts by creating a max saturation brine and then adding a bit of this at a time to the lamp instead of using a lower saturation and using a lot of it
Personally with my lamps I am going with glycol as this is easier to work with and wont cloud the water - this is something to try instead of salt or other things etc.
Also how did you make the lamp and get the globe - was the globe custom made or was a bottle of something.
Thanks very much for the reply. Good suggestions. I do now indeed use the brine solution instead of the lower solution. Works slightly better but I have not been able to get it fully clear. But indeed it does getting better when warmed up. But I want to add more salt to get the densities closer but know this will cause the fluids to become permanently milky.
I like the glycol solution but have used glycerine before which cause the benzylalcohol and water to dissolve in each other.
What lave do you use ? Also benzylalcohol ?
I have bought the glass as vase from Amazon. The top and bottom I made of ducting fittings which I sprayed black. I just added a lamp with dimmer. The vase was 20cm and if you then buy female ducting fittings it fits perfectly.
Curious on your lava.
Just checked but glycol completely dissolves in benzylalcohol.
I haven't made a lamp from scratch before but i have redone lamps usually china lamps and Mathmos lamps that have not flowed or to improve the flow.
I have made a fue gookit lamps and that's the furthest i have gone to make my own lamp from scratch.
Wax wize generaly the wax used is usually artificial made and oil (i.e. hydrocarbon based) based.
Also as I understand it your using the benzealchol as a substitute for Perc (to brake down the wax), I think perc would be better to use as this has been used before and i think it doesn't dissolve glycol.