Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Ok here's the story...I got home from work one afternoon and sitting on my porch was a package from a well known lava lamp manufacturer.  I guess my whining and bitc*ing got through to a certain customer relations person about the poor quality of a lamp I bought on Amazon.  They replaced the lamp even after I returned, it as a gesture of good will!  However, the replacement they sent was....hang on to your goo...Cloudy!!!!  So here is this free brand new lamp sitting on my desk but it looked like more like soap water than clear!  I emailed the person and thanked them for sending me a new one and preceded to retrofit the chemistry.  At first I utilized my tried and true propylene glycol/salt mix which has never failed.  But it turns out that the black wax in the new lamps is a totally different animal.  The density is lighter than that of the older lamps so even in pure water the cold lava would float.  So onward to find the perfect clear medium for the lava to cycle in.  I tried isopropyl alcohol/water at 30% which seemed to work until I added the pickling salt.  Damn, I forgot the polarity of the isopropyl and the stratification that the salt creates.  It will actually separate the alcohol from the water (It is called "Salting") and make the lava neutral not to mention cloud the water again.  So I reached for the liquor cabinet.  Not because I felt deafeated and wanted to drown my sorrows, but to add some real booze to the lamp in terms of vodka and a tad bit of salt water which doesn't separate ethyl alcohol..  The 40% (80 proof ) was perfect for the black wax!  I sped things up with 60 Watts  of input power and she cycles like a champ.  So out with the clouds and in with the sunshine!   Another caveat to the story.  After popping the WARRANTY VOIDED cap that the manufacturer placed on the bottle,  I was able to return it to original state by tightening a hose clamp around the flared section of the cap.  The uniform crimping force provided by the hose clamp closed the cap back down on the bottle  It looks like it never was removed!   Yea!  no more cloudy lamps!  Just one more thing, ethyl alcohol is not too dangerous to place in the lamp.  Hell we drink the stuff!   Just don't try methanol, it's more agressive cousin.  it is way to friggin toxic to mess with especially when you heat it and liberate the MeOH gas.  Just 10ml in your system will blind you and lamps are no good if you can't see them.  Scott

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In "real" lava lamps - there is no salt. Salt will corrode the spring over time and will fall out of solution. Good job though.

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