Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Could use some guidance with the retro formula experiments.... Please help!

I have been working with the Retro recipe to refill an older lamp, as well as build a homemade colossal lamp out of a 3 gallon carboy, or glass jug, suitable for brewing.  I have had some success getting the smaller lamp to run well, but on both projects, the ooze does stick to the glass!  So that's the first issue; how to stop the sticking.  I have read about the varying levels of success using clarifying shampoo.  Does this really work? There seem to be mixed results.... Has anyone identified the active compound in the shampoo?

The other problem I've been having is a little trickier...

After getting the smaller lamp to run nicely, I decided that the greasy smears on the inside of the glass were not going to "cycle out."  So I dumped the contents of the lamp into a warmed up, clean glass jug, and washed the glass very well.   Then I refilled the lamp and put it bad on to warm up.  The results were that the ooze now floats persistently, as if the specific gravity has changed.  I thought that since I could smell the perc when I decanted the lamp, that some has evaporated, leaving the ooze mix lighter than water.  So I poured off some water (with salt solution) and replaced it with fresh distilled water.  It still floated.  After doing this three more times, there is hardly any salt left in the solution, and the ooze still floats!!  Rats!    Now I know the specific gravity of the ooze was right before, as I did the test with antifreeze, and sank in 25% antifreeze, and floated in 40%.   Is it possible that so much perc has evaporated out of the ooze when I decanted the lamp as to change the specific gravity that much?  I have also had the same problem with the bigger lamp, and have decided to solve this with the smaller one first, as it is a lot of work to isolate the ooze, remelt it , and add more perc. 

If you are still reading, you are probably as much of a lamp dork as I am.  Hopefully you are also more experienced or smarter than I am, and can offer some guidance.  Thanks! And Happy New Year!

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Comment by Tim Gill on January 7, 2013 at 2:40pm

About the first issue with sticking - that’s due to the globe not being clean enough / not having a thin coating of soap solution and water to it. 

The key ingredient in what your using is usually sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) this is a cleaning agent and is know as a surfactant (hence surf).

I haven’t tried the retro basic recipe but from what your saying it makes scence that it could be the perc - I guess the only way to find out is to redo the wax and see what happens then.


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