Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hi there,

I have some lamps that the wax simply does not rise - it just sits at the bottom.  The wax generally looks fine.  If anyone reading this has used Propylene Glycol to get wax to flow, can you please comment:

I have Propylene Glycol.  I intend to get the lamps up and running, then add 1ml of PG

Leave to cycle for 10-15min? If no flow add 1ml PG and repeat.

Thanks

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PG is non toxic (it is used in food, shampoo and in electronic cigarettes) so it is better than antifreeze which is very toxic.

In case you want to drink the liquid of your lamp or ? :P

Astralav said:

PG is non toxic (it is used in food, shampoo and in electronic cigarettes) so it is better than antifreeze which is very toxic.

In case you want to drop your liquid in the sink in few years when it will be troubled :-)

I have had problems with adding propylene glycol in large amounts. It starts to cause floaties to grow in the liquid. I am experimenting with glycerin now, but it seems to cloud up the lamp when cold, but clears up when running. I think mathmos uses only glycerin for their glitterballs or something.

Glycerin is very heavy and thick, so I guess you must add with parcimony.

Interresting. I used Propylene Glycol in the one of my grandes and Glycerin in the other and none of them has clouded up at all.. They are both crystal clear.

Autumn said:

I have had problems with adding propylene glycol in large amounts. It starts to cause floaties to grow in the liquid. I am experimenting with glycerin now, but it seems to cloud up the lamp when cold, but clears up when running. I think mathmos uses only glycerin for their glitterballs or something.

I'm afraid I'm a bucket chemist - no real idea of the total amount.

One of them was a disaster - flow improved - more like ballooning - and it tended to break into tiny blobs.

The other three only needed a nudge in the right direction.

Have a look at my photos

Astralav said:

Simon, how much PG did you add?

Some drops, or a bigger quantity?

You will be surprised how much you will need to use. It will be much more than just a few drops. Keep adding little by little with the lamp on until you get the flow that you desire. Remember to keep an ample amount of space at the top of the globe as the PG will displace the water and raise the water level.

Astralav said:

Simon, how much PG did you add?

Some drops, or a bigger quantity?

Something I noticed is that if glycerin is added to water both should have about the same temperature otherwise its clouding.

Autumn said:

I have had problems with adding propylene glycol in large amounts. It starts to cause floaties to grow in the liquid. I am experimenting with glycerin now, but it seems to cloud up the lamp when cold, but clears up when running. I think mathmos uses only glycerin for their glitterballs or something.

I recently transferred the contents of a new Mathmos Astro bottle into an original Crestworth bottle.

Then discovered the fluid level was shallow, so topped it up with about an inch of water.

It struggled to flow at all on the Crestworth base with a traditional 40w bulb .

Bought a small bottle of Propylene Glycol and added small amounts at a time with little effect, and when it did eventually start flowing it was very lazy.

Just at the point that I was going to give up I tipped the full 125g of Glycol in and it's now running beautifully. 

I'm guessing they must have changed the mix in recent years, perhaps to accommodate the halogen bulbs?

It also had two coils in it. 

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