Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Trying to crack the original formula- why was kerosene used?

In my quest to figure out exactly what the original formula is, one thing I haven't figured out is why they used Kerosene in the mixture.  It seems like it was a very small part of the mixture, something like 7% by volume.

But what was the point?  Did it act as a preservative, or enhance the flow, or help to bind everything together?

Speculations?

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Tried a 52oz globe this time, pretty happy with the results so far. flows beautifully, but runs a bit hot. I made this one just using kerosene, perc, paraffin, propylene glycol, and distilled water plus some candle dye for the wax. I think im going to leave the wax transparent on this one, I like how it looks.

Nice! I'm glad to see someone jumping in. If you do change your mind about wanting the wax to be transparent you can add some white dye and it will turn opaque.

gah! I spoke too soon. the day after I took this picture I got home and the lamp was all cloudy. I think I may have added too much propylene glycol, as theres a fine suspension of white particulate in the lamp. I'm going to try refilling it and using a bit of glycerin in addition to the glycol. the wax is fine, so I'll only be replacing the liquid thankfully.

Kerosene may have caused the clouding.

Jesus, just finished reading all the discussion from the start. You guys are amazing! I decided to make my own lava lamp from scratch and have found very interesting and valuable information here. I'm wanto to focus on the heat exchange aspecst of each bottle and ambient, and how this influentiates the behaviour. But I'm struggling to make my mixture work, using just perc, paraffin waxes 170 and 150 and SLS.

Haven't found the correct ratio yet, something between 70 ~ 80% of paraffin wax. Also, not sure what does liquid paraffin or kerosene.

I just made a batch with LP so we'll see how it goes. The last batch leeched the perc. (didn't have any LP in that batch)

Ant Bee said:

I have actually found that there's two causes for that.  1)  Assuming you're using Brakleen, there's two types.  One will leech like that.  2) Not adding Liquid Paraffin, or not having pure enough Liquid Paraffin.

Arne said:

I would guess it helps keeping it together as I have tried to figure out the formula too a few uears ago. the perchloroethylene kept leaching out and hence the flow got worse and worse until it stopped flowing at all.



Ant Bee said:

Microcrystalline is a type of paraffin wax that has a denser structure.  It has a higher melting point, which is what I THINK makes it do the spiking.  I add a little bit to my normal paraffin/LP mixture to impart some of the characteristics of oldschool lava.  However, if you make the mixture entirely of microcrystalline, it has a really hard time melting and just kinda sits there in a permanent "warmup" phase.

Kerosene is lighter than perc- it floats on water.

The original formula is not known, we just know a little bit because some dude ingested a lava lamp and the hospital requested the ingredients.  Lava Lite obliged but only to a certain extent- hence why we know kerosene was involved.  (I may be getting my facts a little wrong here)

One thing we do know is that Crayola used to provide their wax.  However, crayons don't work well for this, because they have a hardening agent that really screws things up in a lot of ways.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I could go about removing that agent, because melted crayola wax in a lamp looks JUST like vintage lava.

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