Useful Tips

How to make a lava lamp from improvised materials


The work of the “magic” lamp is based on the simplest principle: there are two dissimilar liquids inside that cannot be mixed. One liquid is water-based, alcohol is added to it, the second is oil-based. If the room is 28 - 32 ° C, the density of the oil solution exceeds the density of the aqueous. The liquid, which is based on water and alcohol, can not be mixed with paint or mixed, but with dim colors. Any oily color should be added to the oily solution.

So, both liquids are placed in a glass vessel, which is connected to the base. In the base, of course, an electric bulb is inserted. Thanks to her, the contents of the vessel are illuminated through the bottom. An incandescent lamp not only gives light, but also heats liquids, affecting their density.

The fat-based solution, expanding, rises up in large bubbles. As it approaches the surface, it cools and, as a result, sinks to the bottom. This is how physics is explained by the exciting movement of the bubbles and the light play.

Creating an unusual lamp

When you see such a lamp, your friends will certainly want the same and will ask you to explain how to create “manual magic”. But this is in the future, but for now, read carefully and follow these tips.

To make a miracle lamp with your own hands, you need to purchase a cylindrical glass vessel with a tight lid, material for a reliable base (plastic, metal, wood), of course, a bulb holder and the bulb itself (25 W).

In addition, you will need castor oil, alcohol (90 °), a dye that is not soluble in alcohol and water, but soluble in fats. For the experiment, you can use oil paints for artistic creation.

To make the foundation, you can use any material. The form is arbitrary. On the finished platform, install the glass cylinder with the light bulb in it. Drill a couple of holes in the side walls of the base you need to cool the lamp.

Liquid handling

When you make the body of the "magic" lamp, proceed with the preparation of liquids. First take care of the oily liquid by coloring it in the desired range. Then pour a solution of water and alcohol into the vessel. Mix two liquids by pouring a fat-containing solution into an alcohol solution. Thus, two liquids will appear in the glass cylinder - colorless and color.

As they will expand on heating, leave an empty space at the top of the tank. It may happen that the oily liquid rises immediately, but this is due to the insufficient density of the water-alcohol solution. To change it, add more alcohol to the solution.

And now the most interesting thing is the test of a makeshift device. An electric lamp should heat the bottom of the glass cylinder. If necessary, add more water or alcohol (alcohol decreases the density, water, on the contrary, increases). After making sure that the lamp is working properly, close the glass cylinder with a lid and seal it securely.

Assemble all parts of the “magic” lamp, install the container in the base and turn it on. Magic is not long in coming.

Video: How to make a lava lamp with your own hands

Homemade Lava Lamp

In fact, it is not difficult to assemble from improvised materials. To do this, you will need:

- a glass vessel of cylindrical shape with a tight fitting lid (preferably high),
- material for the base (stand): wood or metal, plastic and ceramic are also suitable,
- standard bulb holder,
- an electric bulb of 25 W,
- wire with plug and switch,
- Castor oil,
- alcohol (strength 90-96 degrees),
- a dye that dissolves in fats but does not dissolve in water and alcohol (for example, art oil paint).

Let's start with the base of the lamp. Selecting any available material from the above list, we mount a structure consisting of a bottom and a side wall. It can take the form of a round cylinder, a truncated cone, parallelepiped, and generally any shape that we like. The figure shows the base of a cubic shape. At the bottom we strengthen the bulb holder. Through the hole drilled in the side wall, we pass the end of the wire with the plug and switch and connect this end to the cartridge.

After that, we put the side wall on the bottom. In its lower part at the level of the bulb, several ventilation holes had to be drilled. The main part of the lamp is a glass vessel - after filling it, we will strengthen it above the bulb. Depending on the shape and size of the base, the elements for fastening the vessel to the side wall may be lower than the top edge of the base (as in the figure) or at the very top edge.

Perhaps, a beautiful ceramic flower pot would probably be the best base.

Now prepare the liquids. First, pour a mixture of alcohol and water into a glass vessel. The ratio of alcohol and water, as well as the volume of the mixture in the vessel will have to be selected along the way, but this mixture should occupy most of the vessel. Then in another auxiliary vessel we color the fatty liquid (in our case - castor oil) with a dye of the chosen color and pour it into a glass vessel.

It must be settled at the bottom of the vessel. Therefore, if the fatty liquid immediately pops up, add alcohol: this will reduce the density of the water-alcohol mixture (alcohol is lighter than water). In addition, we do not forget that the vessel should not be filled to the top: there should be a space that will be filled with an expanding liquid from heating.

We test the lamp in operation by heating the bottom. If necessary, add alcohol or water. If everything is fine, close the lid (you can put it on the glue).

We fix the glass vessel on the base, and here it is: our do-it-yourself lava lamp is already standing on our table!

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