Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

I have a lamp that I bought off of ebay about a month ago. When it arrived the wax looked as if it had been shipped hot. Ever since the fluid has cleared up but the wax is extremely bubbly. It seems to get better with time but then it will get worse again. I was wondering what causes this (the bubbles) and what would be the best remedy? Thanks for your input!!

Tags: Bubbles, Wax

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I have a few lamps that are like that. As far as I know, there is no way to de-bubble a lamp. I have tried boiling the lava, but it did not fix the problem. I usually see this with older 70s lamps, but a few of my 90s lamps have this problem as well.


Sorry I wasn't more help, maybe someone else will have an idea, but I don't think there's a solution.

Yea, that's what I was thinking. Thanks Erin!
nothing less satisfying than bubbly lava. :(
I have a way. You run the lamp once. as it cools down the wax will solidify, if you time it right the wax will be solid inside and goey outside and on the top where most of the bubbles are. Well get the globe and twirl it one way then quickly turn the other way and keep going that way. Repeat this multiple times. You will notice the top of the bubbles pop or the top gets pulled off. Now start up your lamp and see how it is. There will be less bubbles. Do this again and again. If they come back do it more, eventualy they stay gone. Hope this helps you
Nice! I just tried it. The bubbles formed into one giant bubble and I popped it!! That felt good haha! We'll see what happens now. Thank you!

Anyone ever get any resolution with this? I've got a couple of lavas that are really bubbly. I know it can't be heat (in my case) as I have one that does it in the first 30 mins. And I know it can't be the wax being shot since it hasn't been run that much.

Hi,
about the "Bubbly Wax" issue in the "Lava Library":
The wax gets bubbly only when the lamp runs. When the lamp is cooled down, there are no bubbles.
I think it depends on the pressure in the globe when the lamp is running.
The wax expands when the lamp is turned on, so the pressure in the globe will rise.
I have a Astro with damaged cap, so it is not sealed anymore (you can smell the fluid, when it runs) -> bubbly wax.
I will try to get the cap off and put it on again sealed.

I have an other cloudy Astro, the wax was not bubbly. I took off the cap and let it run without cap -> bubbly wax + slow flow.

I assume that bubbly wax is an indication for the seal being broken. Gooheads, could you check that on your lamps? Just take a look if your globes with bubbly wax are leaky when gently turned upside down, perhaps you have to keep it upside down for a while. Could you do me a favour and post the result here?


I assume that higher pressure prevents the air to get into the molted wax. Perhaps someone with more knowledge in Physics can explain this pressure issue?

Interesting theory and one I don't think anyone has proposed before. I got rid of all my bubbly lamps, so I don't have one to test anymore. 

my thoughts: gasses become less soluable when heated, and water has dissolved oxygen in it.  if the globe has a tight seal, this prevents additional gasses from entering the globe to cause bubbles in the wax when heated.  conversely, if the seal is loose, gasses enter the globe when heated which may cause bubbles in the wax.  given this, there definitely appears to be some some face validity to your theory, Markus.

as suggested, it would help us zero in on the cause of bubbly wax if people who break the seals on their globes would report back here if their wax became bubbly after doing so.


Markus said:

Hi,
about the "Bubbly Wax" issue in the "Lava Library":
The wax gets bubbly only when the lamp runs. When the lamp is cooled down, there are no bubbles.
I think it depends on the pressure in the globe when the lamp is running.
The wax expands when the lamp is turned on, so the pressure in the globe will rise.
I have a Astro with damaged cap, so it is not sealed anymore (you can smell the fluid, when it runs) -> bubbly wax.
I will try to get the cap off and put it on again sealed.

I have an other cloudy Astro, the wax was not bubbly. I took off the cap and let it run without cap -> bubbly wax + slow flow.

I assume that bubbly wax is an indication for the seal being broken. Gooheads, could you check that on your lamps? Just take a look if your globes with bubbly wax are leaky when gently turned upside down, perhaps you have to keep it upside down for a while. Could you do me a favour and post the result here?


I assume that higher pressure prevents the air to get into the molted wax. Perhaps someone with more knowledge in Physics can explain this pressure issue?

The bubbles in the wax are from the water, not air.  Melted wax doesn't hold air because the air is much less dense than either water or wax.  On occasion air will become trapped in the wax at the top of the globe when the lamp is off and cooling, but as soon as the wax melts enough the air bubble will SHOOT to the top.

 

if that is true, then how can a column of wax rise to the top of the globe if it's filled with pockets of water that have a higher density than melted wax?  i'm looking at a globe right now with a few large bubbles in the wax at the top, and they tend to stay at the top of the globe.  if the pockets were made of water, i would think they would tend to sink the wax back to the bottom rather than float.

I suspect the water in the bubbles has been heated at the bottom and can't cool off as easily when trapped in a bubble.  My p/y colossus was doing that.  It looked like a Galileo thermometer; the bubbles would just hang there forever.  

I also have a '73 aristocrat that wasn't bubbly until I changed the fluid.  It gets to the point that it almost looks like green foam, but the flow is still great.  I'm wondering if it's the dish soap I used for surfactant.  I used Joy soap.  Someday when I break down and buy a hydrometer I'll swap the fluid again and use a different soap to see what difference that makes.  

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