What Are Lava Lamps Made Of: The Magic Of Science
Lava lamps look magical with its glow in the dark liquid floating around the bottle. Its otherworldly look makes it seem as though it's an object made by extraterrestrials. But have you ever wondered what are lava lamps made of? Can commercial lava lamps be replicated at home? Let's start the inspection!
Things You Need To Know About Lava Lamps
Lava lamp manufacturers try to keep its ingredients a secret, but a few clues have surfaced. The beauty of knowing what are lava lamps made of is finding out the magic and the science behind it.
Lava Lamp Ingredients
The secret behind all lava lamps is its density.
- Wax/ Paraffin wax - This is what you see as the "lava" in your lamp. This type of wax is mostly found in candles and cosmetics.
- Liquid - the liquid in lava lamps is mostly water with some proprietary additives to manipulate its density.
- Some possible solutions added to lava lamps are:
-water mixed with isopropyl alcohol
-water mixed with mineral oil
-Turpentine and pain solvents help the lava fuse
- Chemicals are added to prevent fungi from growing in the bottle.
In understanding what are lava lamps made of, we must note the two main factors that influence how it works:
- Close in density
It's more than just oil and water because although they may be insoluble, they have very different densities and won't give you the effect of a lava lamp.
The Science Of Dancing Liquid
The dancing liquid that you love so much in lava lamps is achieved through density manipulation. Here's a play by play:
- When the lamp is switched off, the paraffin wax becomes slightly denser than the liquid around it, so the lava settles at the bottom.
- When the lamp warms up again, the lava becomes less dense, and it rises.
- As it reaches the top, it gets farther from the heat source and eventually falls, producing the lava dance in your lava lamp.
Note: Regular wax is lighter, so the manipulation of density happens in the liquid and not the wax. Again, lava lamp manufacturers are very particular about the additives that they use so that it's challenging to point out which ones they are using on their lamps.
How To Care For Your Lava Lamp
Lava lamps come in different shapes and sizes, colors, and designs. These lamps offer therapeutic advantages for kids and adults alike. If you plan to own one, here are a few care tips for your lava lamp:
- Place your lava lamp where you can easily see it.
- Don't shake the lamp when it is switched on.
- Keep the lamp away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat to avoid color fading.
- Position the lamp in areas that are far from natural light sources like windows.
- Limit the lamp to 8-10 hours of use.
- Avoid opening the lava lamp. It should only be opened when a bulb replacement is necessary.
- Keep your lava lamp away from flammable materials.
- Keep your lava lamp in a cool area for storage.
Lava lamps are interesting ornamental pieces that provide visual therapeutic effects. Now that you know what are lava lamps made of, you can safely say that curiosity is satisfied. And although we cannot perfectly replicate a lava lamp ourselves because of so many proprietary additives, we know the science behind the magical dancing liquid.