Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

I've done several lamps with Magma's 'goo'. Worked fine. Now one of them has -really- tiny blobs. Almost like champagne. Looks great.

So... how did that happen? What determines the size of the blobs? Is this controllable or was that just a one-off?

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lots of small globes is usually indicative of a high level of surfactant.  as the level of surfactant is increased, the surface tension is significantly reduced, causing the mass of wax to break apart easily.

Interesting. I like it.

Thanks.

That is definitely a too much surf problem. I have done the same too a d it can be kinda cool.

Sorry for the crap quality. I can't figure out how to get a clear exposure. I seem to recall this was my first 'experiment', I now recall that this was where I took the wax from a 'real' lava lamp and just replaced the ugly blue water with distilled H20 and a -little- suds.

Haven't had this with Magma goo. But I'd -like- to! :D

Surf does absolutely nothing to my lamps as far as flow is concerned. If the wax is turning clear it means it is running too hot. Approx 130 degrees and above will cause clear wax. Overheating mt goo causes a fast action flow with alot of tiny bubbles as far as theyre surf is concerned. If u use a dish soap that makes the goo thin and more runny from my experiences with goo kitting. What size is the lamp and what bulb r u running it on?
Oops just read its true lava lol!! Yep either too hot or too much suds lol!!

I think Carol stole my dog. :D

The guy at Magma says the surf does -not- affect blob size... but what does he know? :D 

I just want to be clear: I -like- the look. I wish I could make it happen again. Colours aren't separating. Just lots of little blobs that move along the sides in addition to the usual giant blurp in the middle.

Thanks.

a while back, i was procrastinating and decided to make a video on the effects of adding MT surfactant to MT wax.  here is the video:

though brief, you can see that the wax rises and breaks off after the surfactant is added.  a small globe is created and falls toward the bottom of the globe.  also note, some wax hangs at the liquid-air interface due to the surface tension of the water being great enough to prevent the wax from falling (illustration below).  this piece of hanging wax can be seen in every lava lamp and is colloquially known as a "cap."

regarding "flow," the surfactant (e.g. soap, sodium lauryl ether sulfate) reduces the "interfacial tension", which is similar to surface tension, but refers to a liquid-liquid interface (i.e. the lamp liquid and liquid wax) rather than a liquid-gas interface.  in the globe, the water molecules exert a force on the wax molecules, and the wax molecules exert a force back on the water molecules.  when increasing levels of a surfactant are added to the globe, the forces decrease in a linear fashion, such that more surfactant = less tension between the liquids.  a surfactant is added (usually in the 30-55mL range per quart of MT wax) to adjust the flow to preference.  as you continue to add surfactant, an emulsion is eventually created, which is the small bubbles you reported seeing.

that said, if you want tons of small bubbles in your wax, add a surfactant until you get the desired result.  of course, make sure you add the surfactant when the globe is at operating temperature as surface tension also varies as a function of temperature.

 

JC Harris said:

I think Carol stole my dog. :D

The guy at Magma says the surf does -not- affect blob size... but what does he know? :D 

I just want to be clear: I -like- the look. I wish I could make it happen again. Colours aren't separating. Just lots of little blobs that move along the sides in addition to the usual giant blurp in the middle.

Thanks.

I wish the MT surf would do that to some of my kits!!!!  I've used mad amounts of it to break that never ending column flow to make it a bit more interesting and it does nothing.  I guess it's a goo issue with the MT stuff. 

Hey JC  I just read the Carol stole my dog reply!!!!  OMG, that's funny!!!  That's my blue nose pittie Karma.....I know the MT guy told me that same thing and I could add a gallon of surf to a 52 oz lamp and at first it will break up the lava, but then it cools and goes back to the same flow the very next run.  I have found if I add another coil to the kits that have just column flow and don't really break fast enough that it helps to break up the lava and I get a much better flow.  I've used stainless steel bracelet coil and recently just experimented with some stainless steel lint trap stuff.  It's kind of a cross between a coil and a screen so I got the idea it might work.  Of course I haven't tried it without the original coil, so that might be a cool experiment.  I have a spare 32 oz globe that I may clean out and try to run with just the lint screen and some older already colored mt goo that is just sitting around doing nothing to see if I can get it to flow with just the lint screen.  I've been wondering will it be a better flow or worse with just that??  i'll keep everyone posted.

Hello, im sorry for the irrelevance but I realy need help. I have tried to make a retro lava lamp twcie and the ooze doesnt not float. I have tried it with a liquid of 1.0 specific density (distilled water) and with a liquid of 1.05 specific gravity (distilled water and antifreeze). The float remains at the bottom fo the bottle and is very liquidy. What can i do??? :(

@Carol: Your dog is a pit bull? Hmmm... mine is a mutt I found on the highway. Someone told me it's an 'Australian Cattle Dog'. You can't trust anyone these days. :D

@ Brad: In my day, we'd reply to a video like this with: "College boy, eh?" :D "A little too much TIME on yer hands there...Eh... COLLEGE BOY." :D

Frankly, I wish -I- could write a grant to study 'effects of surfactants on the surface tension and bouyancy of paraffin-based blah, blah, blah...' Or maybe the Mythbusters guys will do an episode. :D

The thing that interests me is how many different theories there are on how all this stuff works. Kim @ Magma insists the suds aren't part of the equation, but clearly -something- makes a difference. There's a LOT of manganese in the tap water here... who knows.

But if one could come up with a -repeatable- formula for controlling certain factors, like blob size and speed of 'mitosis' :D that would be very cool. I dunno if there's any dough in it... or even college credit :D but it's something I'd like to know more about.

Another dream I've had: MULTI-COLOURS... I wish there was a way to make a lava lamp with 2 independent colours of wax... I'd patent it as The Barbarella Effect. :D

Brad said:

a while back, i was procrastinating and decided to make a video on the effects of adding MT surfactant to MT wax.  here is the video:

though brief, you can see that the wax rises and breaks off after the surfactant is added.  a small globe is created and falls toward the bottom of the globe.  also note, some wax hangs at the liquid-air interface due to the surface tension of the water being great enough to prevent the wax from falling (illustration below).  this piece of hanging wax can be seen in every lava lamp and is colloquially known as a "cap."

regarding "flow," the surfactant (e.g. soap, sodium lauryl ether sulfate) reduces the "interfacial tension", which is similar to surface tension, but refers to a liquid-liquid interface (i.e. the lamp liquid and liquid wax) rather than a liquid-gas interface.  in the globe, the water molecules exert a force on the wax molecules, and the wax molecules exert a force back on the water molecules.  when increasing levels of a surfactant are added to the globe, the forces decrease in a linear fashion, such that more surfactant = less tension between the liquids.  a surfactant is added (usually in the 30-55mL range per quart of MT wax) to adjust the flow to preference.  as you continue to add surfactant, an emulsion is eventually created, which is the small bubbles you reported seeing.

that said, if you want tons of small bubbles in your wax, add a surfactant until you get the desired result.  of course, make sure you add the surfactant when the globe is at operating temperature as surface tension also varies as a function of temperature.

 

JC Harris said:

I think Carol stole my dog. :D

The guy at Magma says the surf does -not- affect blob size... but what does he know? :D 

I just want to be clear: I -like- the look. I wish I could make it happen again. Colours aren't separating. Just lots of little blobs that move along the sides in addition to the usual giant blurp in the middle.

Thanks.

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