Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Is this legit? Does it work?

Lava Lamp Materials

  • Benzyl alcohol
  • 4.8% saline solution
  • 40-60 Watt light bulb
  • Glass container
  • Oil-soluble marker
  • Glass bottle
  • Tin can
  • Dimmer switch
  • Plywood
  • Tools

 

How to Make the Lava Lamp

  1. Break open an oil-soluble marker or pen and place the inked felt into a container of benzyl alcohol. Leaving it in longer will give a darker color, but will also increase the tendency to bleed into the brine.
  2. A few minutes is usually a good time to leave the inked felt in the alcohol. A Sharpie bleeds too much into the brine, so choose a different type of marker.
  3. The benzyl alcohol, specific gravity 1.043 g/ml, and 4.8% salt water (brine, specific gravity 1.032 g/ml) go into the glass container. A bottle about 10 inches tall is good.
  4. Build a base to hold the bottle over the lamp using a tin can and plywood. A dimmer on the light will allow you to control heat.
  5. You may wish to place a fan at the top of the bottle to cool the liquid at this location.
  6. You will need to experiment to get the best distance between the heat source (light) and the glass container.
  7. You want about 150 ml benzyl alcohol and the remainder of the liquid to be brine. Seal the bottle, but allow airspace.
  8. Try about 1 inch of air space at the top, to allow for expansion of the fluids. The amount of airspace will affect bubble size.
  9. Responsible adult supervision is required! Because the materials may be toxic and there is a flammability hazard, this project is not intended for young or inexperienced investors.

Tips for Success

  1. Alternatives to benzyl alcohol include cinnamyl alcohol, diethyl phthalate, ethyl salicylate, or nitrobenzene.
  2. An oil-based ink may be used instead of the marker.
  3. If the benzyl alcohol floats to the top and stays there, add more water. If the alcohol stays at the bottom, add more salt (NaCl).
  4. A trace amount of an antioxidant, such as BHA or BHT, may be added to the liquid to add color and increase contrast.
  5. Please read the Material Safety Data Sheet for benzyl alcohol before performing this procedure. Have fun and be safe!

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seems as though it may work, the effect will not be very good and it will degrade overtime. there are a few other recipes on here, the one I used that worked for me is a mix of paraffin wax, kerosene, and brakleen for the wax, and a mix of glycol and distilled water for the water. after tinkering and balancing it flows well and seems to last a while. getting a good seal on the cap is key for longevity, as without it the brakleen will slowly evaporate out and the lamp will start overheating, and will eventually stop flowing altogether, though this is easily corrected by just adding more brakleen again. 

Do you have a link to that recipe? There is so much info on here its tough to parse

at first glance it does seem like it would work at least a little bit, but it wouldn't last because benzyl alcohol is soluble in water.

if you want to make a lasting and more professional looking lamp, your best bet is to read up on the wax + perc recipes. they seem to flow the best for whatever reason, but can be tricky to get right

if you want to make something the quick and dirty way just to be able to say you made a lava lamp, try this dead simple and ancient recipe:

ingredients:

  • 91% rubbing alcohol
  • water
  • wax
  • oil pastel or oil paint

directions:

  1. get your bottle and put the coil in it.
  2. put a little water in the bottle to keep the wax from sticking to the sides.
  3. heat up the wax in a double boiler and color it with your dye of choice.
  4. use a very long funnel (either one you don't care about or something you made from scrap like a rolled up piece of cardstock because it's going to get waxy) to pour the wax into the bottom of the bottle, make sure it doesn't stick to the sides.
  5. after the wax cools fill the bottle most of the way with the rubbing alcohol
  6. now put your bottle on the base and heat it up until the wax is totally liquid. the wax will stay at the bottom.
  7. slowly add water to the bottle until it begins to flow.
  8. cap your bottle so the alcohol doesn't all vaporize away and enjoy your lava lamp.

this recipe does have flaws (mainly with the liquid clouding) but overall this is the easiest way to get something that works reasonably well, and was the recipe used to make the lava lamp in my profile picture (my first lamp that worked). it only worked well for about a month and then the wax got stuck to the sides of the bottle forever, so i have since moved on to the perc recipes that use regular water for the liquid, but really if you want something easy you can't go wrong with this one. good luck!

I have actually made that one and yes, after about a month the wax gets stuck badly. Im having a hard time finding a Perc recipe other than this one: http://oozinggoo.ning.com/forum/topics/electronic-heating-and-light...

Oil Part (Wax content)

Wax = Beeswax 22,5 grams (yellow)

Oil = Linseed oil, 20 grams (yellow)

Diluent = Pine Turpentine 5 grams

PERC = 30 grams

 

Water Part

Water = Rainwater 300ml

Surfactant = Saponin (saturated solution) 3-5 drops

Density-increasing = Magnesium Sulfate (saturated solution) 20ml

try this: http://oozinggoo.ning.com/forum/topics/making-lava-lamp-step-by-ste...

and this is the recipe i've used:

wax:

  • 1 part (by mass) paraffin wax
  • 1 part (by mass) petroleum jelly/vaseline
  • 1 part (by mass) perc

liquid:

  • mostly water
  • surfactant = sles
  • density increasing = glycerin (very dense so only a little bit is needed)

in general the liquid is a lot easier to make because pretty much anything denser than water will work to increase the density. the wax is the part that is hard to get right!

Thank you!

tim said:

try this: http://oozinggoo.ning.com/forum/topics/making-lava-lamp-step-by-ste...

and this is the recipe i've used:

wax:

  • 1 part (by mass) paraffin wax
  • 1 part (by mass) petroleum jelly/vaseline
  • 1 part (by mass) perc

liquid:

  • mostly water
  • surfactant = sles
  • density increasing = glycerin (very dense so only a little bit is needed)

in general the liquid is a lot easier to make because pretty much anything denser than water will work to increase the density. the wax is the part that is hard to get right!

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