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?


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Kerosene is in the liquid.   

Like, there has to be some binding agent then, because this is what happens when you mix kerosene and water:


Its like oil and water, they do not mix.

From wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerosene
, also known as paraffin, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid which is derived from petroleum. It is widely used as a fuel in aviation as well as households. Its name derives from Greekκηρός (keros) meaning "wax"   Liquid paraffin (called mineral oil in the US) is a more viscous and highly refined product which is used as a laxative. Paraffin wax is a waxy solid extracted from petroleum.

Here's a line from the original US patent describing the wax:

US3387396A     https://patents.google.com/patent/US3387396

A suitable liquid for the globule has been found to comprise mineral oil, paraffin and a dye when it is intended to suspend it in water, for example, Ondina 17 with a light paraffin, carbon tetrachloride and a dye or dyes.

The patent lists the desired temperature as 45 to 50c. I believe the whole point of the kerosene is to adjust the melting point to the desired temp.

Great find.  Thanks, I was not aware this existed.  What is interesting to me is that in the patent, Kerosene isn't listed at all.  Further down, petroleum jelly is listed...

Well this gives me something to mess around with, anyway.

Microcrystalline wax is derived from petroleum jelly. From what I've read on this site, microcrystalline wax helps make the lava opaque.

While researching the formulas on the Internet, I found a report on kerosene use. The report is on the safety of the mixture. Maybe it can help you to give ideas.

I think kerosene holds the ingredients together in the mixture. Chlorinated paraffin density enhancer. Microcrystalline paraffin can be for opacity. I use synthetic thinner instead of kerosene in my works. Then the beautiful column is formed.

Ok, lets mess around a bit.  Went to the store and grabbed some stuff with my groceries:

We are going to do a little experimenting with wax formulas today.  Here's whats on deck (weight in grams)

The color of the rows will correspond to the color of the waxes, to make things easier to track in the pictures.  Because I only have a limited amount of space, I can only do so many at a time.  A proper "experiment" would necessitate a bunch of jars with the same formulas to eliminate any unseen variables... but I ain't a scientist.  The white row is my "usual" formula as a control, and all will be tested on a 25watt base.  Weights may be off by less than half a gram because liquids are a pain to measure by weight.

My intent here is not to find a perfect formula with 4 measly jars, but to see how they react to certain chemicals I have yet to try.  Kerosene is introduced into two jars, and Petroleum Jelly in one as well.  I did not use the mineral oil in this session. 

The liquid *at the moment* is pure distilled water with a few milliliters of Sodium Laurel Sulfate.  I did not add anything to increase the density of the liquid *yet.*  I just want to see how the spiking/remelting goes first.

First up, Pink and Red.  Put them on the base at 12:20.  I will update when spikes form.

12:39, within seconds of each other they both erupted.  In a typical fashion for these little Voss containers on their first run, they "flipped the lid" of the solid wax and burst upwards.

Judging by the pictures Tevfik has the formula perfected. Where did you get the chlorinated paraffin though? You use that instead of perc right?

Yep, saw that post after I made mine.  Oh well, I will see it through anyway.

You make Chlorinated Paraffin by adding Perc to Paraffin.  Unfortunately we don't know the ratio there.  But I suspect it may not matter a ton, because that's just the "weight" bit of it.

Update on the pink/red, T+1hour, some light blobbage on the red.  Pink is softening, but no blobbage.  So far, this is a lot like my other microcrystalline formulas in that the warmup phase is similar to oldschool waxes.

Adding perc to paraffin makes a form of chlorinated paraffin, but perc is toxic and most attempts at using it result in wax that eventually loses its proper balance. Chlorinated paraffin is used in industry, but I haven't seen a source for small consumer amounts. 

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