Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lava Lamp

Few items have maintained the curiosity of generations of Americans as the well-loved lava lamp has done. People are always hypnotized and entertained by the continuous movement of the mystifying blobs of liquid inside the lamp. The lasting charm of the lava lamp has made it an icon for home decor. Because of its colorful and fascinating design, the lava lamp is generally thought to be an exciting decor item for teen's and kid's bedrooms, or for the den or family room.

Although, a lava lamp is tremendously fashionable, we sometimes forget the science behind the moving blobs of fluid within. Children oftentimes learn that the workings of a lava lamp can become a fun science project. The inner workings of a lava lamp can better be described by the scientific rationale that water and oil do not mix. The blobs of color that are seen in the lava lamp are actually a mix of colored wax that has been dissolved or liquefied and an agent that permits the wax to take a versatile form on while it is suspended in liquid. Using standard ingredients, you can produce your personalized lava lamp at home. Here's how to create your very own lamp.

Gathering the materials. The ingredients necessary to produce a lava lamp can be seen in most homes, with the exception of non-toxic antifreeze and perc. For the lamp, you will need a large glass jar with a tight cover, distilled water, and coloring. To create the peculiar "blob", you will require candle wax that has been dissolved, tetrachloroethylene or perc (found in degreasers and dry cleaners), salt, non-toxic automotive antifreeze and distilled water.

Making preparations. You must place the container or jar in the deep freezer for several hours prior to starting the project; it must be chilled. Once it is adequately chilled, fill the jar with distilled water until it is about two or three inches from the lip or the brim of the jar. Then add the coloring. Next add a heaping teaspoonful of salt and put back the lid; shake the jar very vigorously until the salt has been dissolved. At this point, you might opt to add some small bright beads. Place this aside. You can then proceed to producing the signature "blob" that makes a lava lamp so attention-getting.

Making your "blob". Mix precisely 11 tablespoons of melted wax with 6 tablespoons of perc in a different container. Do remember that the perc will expand and greatly increase the pressure inside the jar so cautiously screw the lid back on. After, swirl (not shake) the jar to check that the two components are mixed thoroughly. Prior to pouring drops of "blob" into the jar with distilled water, let it cool completely because its concentration will change once it has cooled down. If you desire a blob whose coloring contrasts with that of the water, you may also color the wax using a tinting agent. Tighten the lid and shift it a few times to test for leaks.