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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Perc is toxic yeah, if you're standing over it huffing it like paint.  But mechanics have the stuff on their hands all day, so... Just don't drink it.  I wasn't aware it had an issue with losing balance, what time frames are we talking there?

T+2 hour update:

As you can see, the pink simply does not want to melt further.  The piece that was on the bottom just floated to the top, where it held its shape and simply softened.  I am turning it off,  will remelt it in hot water, and see what happens with a second run.

The red, however, is doing a lot better.  There is a bit of more solidified stuff at the top still that has not sunk, because there's a bit of strange offgassing that is keeping it afloat up there.  As I've been watching it, the offgassing has stopped, so I may do the same as the pink, hot water bath it, let all the gas out, then try it again. 

I am not sure what causes that.  Maybe I was too hasty in taking the melted mixture jars off the stove.

However, the quality of the lava is pretty nice.  It's not as opaque as it should be, but it doesn't have that mottled, "chunky" look that my other lavas have.  It's a bit translucent and a touch bubbly, but it's got a nice consistency and flow.  The bubbliness has reduced as it heats up.

T+4 hours

The pink is just too light and resistant to heat.  I could add more perc to it with an eyedropper and may do that tomorrow.  But as is, it's not a good formula.  It MIGHT be suitable with more perc and a hotter (say 40w) base.

Red is not bad, really.  It's flowing fairly normally for a lamp with a literal eyedropper full of Propelyne Glycol and the rest water.  The lava itself is consistent and the bubbles have all but worked themselves out, and now it looks very much like a chinese formula.

The red one looks ok right now. I'm interested to see how it looks after you get a chance to run it several times to break in.

Right, I have found with homemade stuff that it doesn't really take on it's "final form" for at least three runs.  Keep in mind too that the fluid density isn't even close to balanced. 

I had read that petroleum jelly was problematic due to sticking, but I haven't seen even a hint of that so far.

T+5 hours, final update for the night

The pink is just a lost cause.  I am putting it on the stove, letting it fully liquify, then adding 6 grams perc.  Will see what that does tomorrow.

I didn't expect much out of the red for just having added a single, small addition of Petroleum Jelly, but it's got a much nicer flow than I'd hoped.  Marking this down as potentially useful- it seems to greatly enhance the texture of the liquified lava.

Hope y'all enjoyed this, I will let em cool off and see what day 2 brings!

BamaMatt said:

Resimlere bakılırsa, Tevfik formülü mükemmelleştirmiş. Yine de klorlu parafini nereden aldınız? Bunu perc yerine kullanıyorsun, değil mi?

I use PERC because I cannot find chlorinated paraffin. My formula is different from here. I use beeswax, liquid paraffin, synthetic thinner and perc.

Then I fill 3/4 of the lamp with distilled water. I add 1-2 ml of 25% SLES. When the lamp is fully warmed up, I try to catch the flow by adding glycerin drop by drop.


Chlorinated paraffin is not made by adding perc into paraffin.

Well, for the time being it seems to work, and at least the ones I have made which are coming up on a year old, the balance hasn't changed.

Day 2:  Start at 5:10

T+20 minutes

A little more offgassing in *both* occurred overnight, both had a little bubble on the bottom.

The red sort of lifted itself off the coil a bit and resolidified.  The pink, having 6 more grams of perc, now has much more traditional spiking behavior.

T+50 minutes

Red shoots up a big hollow weiner of freedom, pink is almost fully remelted but has an outer crust that is keeping the liquid wax inside.  I may add just a touch of PG to the fluid once it is fully liquified.

My feeling is that the pink would do a lot better on a 40w base, but alas I do not have a 40w globe I am willing to sacrifice for this.


The pink fully liquified, and even after topping it off with PG, it's content to rest on the bottom.  I am shutting it off, will let it resolidify, and then do one more run on it to observe the warmup properties.

The red has some real promise- even though it took a little longer (and again, 25w vs 40w may remedy that) the phases of its warmup are very oldschool compared to china formulas.  The big hollow weiner of freedom "broke" in half, and then it started sending up small globules of liquid wax.  Very oldschool.  It just doesn't re-liquify as fast as oldschool, and the initial post-weiner-pre-full-liquification small globules have a sort of jellylike consistency.

The pink, despite the fluid being clearly imbalanced, had a much easier time reliquifying.  So I am excited to try combining kerosene AND petroleum jelly in the same mix.

Alright, both have been turned off and cooled.  I think I have a good feel for what a little petroleum jelly does.  Gonna run pink one more time now that it has a bit more PG in the fluid, and do a test run of yellow with no PG to compare.

Pink, some more perc in the wax, some PG to compensate

Yellow, same original formula as pink, no PG (only distilled water and SLS)

Starting at 8:30

T+ 90 minutes on pink/yellow

Yellow is following the same pattern as pink did yesterday.  Not ideal, but consistency of results is useful data.

Pink is fully liquified, and there's just too much perc or not enough PG.  Balance issue- that's fine too.

One last pic of those before moving on to another formula.  I have half a jar of pink, and half a jar of red.  I am combining them so that I have a Petroleum Jelly/Kerosene mix, and will add just a touch more perc to it as well.  I'll post about that tomorrow.

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