Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

K so I have been doing some massive research, I have come to the conclusion of these things. The specific gravity of silicone oil is 0.975 mineral oil is 0.838 and water is 1.00. Now as most know the lower the number the lighter the fluid, this is y oil floats (or one of the reasons) so baby oil should by default work fine in a wave machine / if not better! Also I found a chemical vs. plastic chart that rates silicone oil just barely better than mineral oil for plastic. So these are my findings 1) I believe lava lite/lamp used silicone oil only because it has a slightly better long term affect on plastic than mineral oil / not because it is lighter than mineral oil 2) Long ago when I rebuilt my first "alantis" model, aka giant wave I used mineral oil and alcohol, it worked like a champ. Alcohol has a specific gravity of around 7.75, making it a lot lighter than water (keep this in mind). When I rebuilt it I mean, it broke open (on the end) and lost all of its fluid so I used baby oil and rubbing alcohol to refill it and re-glued the end back on.... When I did this I did not measure the level of fluids or anything I just filled it to look good, keep in mind also that it worked super ( made great waves ) a few months later I realized the alcohol had softened and destroyed the acrylic tube. 3) Back to 2009 I got my hands on a smaller wave empty (with no fluid in it) but the tube was in ok shape just needed a little t.l.c. and the ends glued back on it, long story short I fixed it and refilled it with distilled water and baby oil and measured it by sitting it next to another wave I have, so the fluid levels looked identical. So to my amazement it didn't work worth a crap, it just didn't make good waves. 4) Again I attempted to make a wave this time I would replace by beloved gaint so I odered a cast acrylic tude ( as close as I could find for cheap ) got a 24x 4 1/4 tube and again did my homework ( thanks Dr. What) I got an idea of how much fliud to put in the wave approx. 8 inches for mine, seeing that the original has 7 inches or so of blue fluid when standing on end and 22 inches long. When I got done is was so excited but only to be short lived it also did not make very good waves. 5) I bought one of the smaller latest 90's model waves ( violet ) it appeared to be just a tad low on fluid so I filled a small syringe with dyed purple ( as close as I could get ) water and carefully added the water from the fill hole. When I got done to my amazement holding the cylinder out in front of me I seen three layers of fluid clear, purple and purple. The water a just added sank past the oil but was sitting on top of the original purple fluid??? So I resealed the wave and carefully shoke the wave and the purple fluids mixed together well. 6) I have come to the conclusion that the water /colored part of a wave is not pure water. There is something else in there other than silicone oil and distilled oil. Please please feel free to add comments, findings, and impute to this discussion thanks your fellow wave machine loving friend Wayne.

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Well i did it i'll keep ya posted on how it turns out.
Well it turns out silicone oil is way thick there is no way that is what is in the wave machines.
Wow i'm so dumb sometimes..... I have some old original wave fluid(s) in a container I bought a while back as spare stuff. Till today I have never taken the lid off the container wow it smells strong ! So after smelling it, it reminded me of fuel hmmmmm, so I took a toothpick and dipped it in the fluid and guess what, You can set fire to it very easily, did the same to the mineral oil and the silicone oil and they do NOT burn. I can set the toothpick on fire lol but the oils don't really ignite. So I believe I'm on the right track. I believe with my latest findings that the waves contain water and some form of fuel oil sorry yeah i changed my mind lol.
True silicone oil does come in many viscosity's / thickness problem is its expensive and buying several to find the right viscosity would / can get rather expensive. Note: I used what was referred to as "350 cts " this was way way to thick; start thinner.
I finally got my hands on a hydrometer, and tried to use it to find the density of the wave fluids yesterday. I found this to be more difficult than expected. I couldn't get only one fluid away from the other when I poured it out in to the 24 oz Pepsi bottle I was using. So I tested both together and found that the hydrometer (test tube type) floated on the bottom fluid, basically just sitting on the bottom fluid and sinking all the way the through other. When I did this to other combinations I never found the same result, I tried just plain baby oil, anti freeze, and water, and paraffin oil / lamp oil, and a few mixes of the 2 but none the same. The closest was the baby oil and antifreeze; I’m going to interduce kerosene in to the equations as soon as I find time ( feel like that maybe the missing ingredient sense the original fluid is flammable! )

Hi everyone, this discussion is extremely interesting.First glycerin is very much like antifreeze,you can combine water to adjust it's viscosity and it's specific gravity. I'll have to check with my machinery handbook to see the boiling point of glycerin to see when it would match that of antifreeze. I believe a 50/50 mix for antifreeze gives you a boiling point of 245 degrees F.Also being that glycerin is water solulible it stands to reason that a person can color it any way hue or shade they wish, the sky is the limit. I purchased some glycerin to make huge soap bubbles for my son to enjoy, to the point of almost encasing him in one massive soap bubble.The other thing that made the formula for huge bubbles was ultra concentrated dish soap. The pro's suggested Joy dish soap, I used Dawn ultra. The pro's used 1/3 equal parts of glycerin,dishsoap,distilled water. They even produced bubbles that remained intact for hundreds of days in a sealed container. You really had to thicken the mix quite a bit for that to happen. Another ingredient to severly thicken the formula is plain white sugar used to sweeten your coffee or tea. So a person can thin or thicken this watery formula's specific gravity and viscosity to a very wide range.It was mention earlier one ingredient caught fire very easily, so does lamp oil, and it smell like fuel also not to mention that it comes in different colors, and can be managed to have it's viscosity and specific gravity altered quite readily with any petroleum product at any hardware store, automotive store, etc.etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is,they both have several things in common, which would make for some interesting experimentation; color change,viscosity change up or down, specific gravity up or down and they hate one another to the point of repelling each other quite interestingly. Colored water takes for ever to fade also and so does lamp oil  "colored that is". The reason I'm highly interested is building aquariums is one hobby I enjoy and combining lava lamps with wave machines as backdrops is making me salivate with curiosity something awful. The way I see it, at the price the top of the line wave machines cost: nearly $ 2000.00 dollars a large group sharing the combined cost of one wave machine,each trying out different types of formulas,well that group is bound sooner or later to discover a reasonably good working wave machine formula. Anyways, I'm seriously devoting good time and money at any opportunity that arrises and I'll be more than happy to share any useful information that comes. If I only had some of that smelling fuel stuff, I'd compare it with other known fuelly strong smelly stuff sort of sniff testing different fuels. It would be worth the price of different variety of fuels to see which one would closely match the characteristics the liquid Wayne said caught fire vary easily. Your lucky to have that stuff Wayne.

 Thanx a bunch for everyone who made this site possible so fellows like me can enjoy this gettaway from the world's daily grind.

Thought I would resurrect this thread. Anyone clamp down closer on what makes a good fluid, either homebrew or close match to Lava formula?

Not sure of the breakdown properties with acrylic but, would Styrene Monomer play nice with the vessel as well as work for an 'oil' top layer?



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