Lava Lamp Science Investigatory Project

Table of Content

Lava Lamp

Science Investigatory Project

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Keanu Kent B. Gargar

IV – St. Ezekiel

A lava lamp (or Astro lamp) is a decorative novelty item, invented by British accountant Edward Craven-Walker in 1963. The lamp contains blobs of colored wax inside a glass vessel filled with clear liquid; the wax rises and falls as its density changes due to heating from an incandescent light bulb underneath the vessel. The appearance of the wax is suggestive of pāhoehoe lava, hence the name. The lamps are designed in a variety of styles and colours. The underlying fluid mechanics phenomenon is a form of Rayleigh–Taylor instability. The bulb is normally 25 to 40 watts. Generally it will take 45–60 minutes for the wax to warm up enough to freely form rising blobs, when operating the lamp at standard room temperature. It may take as long as 2 to 3 hours if the room is below standard room temperature.

Background of the Study
With the Bubbling Lava Lamp, you’ll learn how to make a homemade, kid-safe lava lamp using materials right in your home. It impresses you everytime not only you but also your friends and neighbors.

The lava lamp is used as a visual attractiveness on houses, parties, streets and everywhere that makes people impress. You can learn how to make a homemade lava lamp with your kids right in your home.

Significance of the Study
Lava lamps are fun to watch, they are groovy and more visual appealing. If you’re stress or tired, take a look at your magnificient lava lamp. The blobs that keeps bouncing up and down plus the lighting effects keeps your eyes colorful and happy. They could be use for furniture and visual distractor for some rooms, can be used as lamps. Lava lamps can be made with a variety of colors that suites the mood of your room, or your favorite color.


 Clean, plastic soda bottle, glass, jar, or Baby Soda Bottle Test Tube  Soda bottle cap
 Vegetable oil (the cheaper the better)
 Food coloring
 Alka-Seltzer tablet or Fizzy Tablets
 Flashlight

Treatment / General procedure

Get a 16- or 64-oz soda or water bottle. Any tightly sealable container works, but you probably have an empty water bottle laying around somewhere. Add oil, water, and food coloring to the bottle. Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with vegetable oil, then top it off with water and about 10 drops of food coloring (or enough to make the solution appear fairly dark). Cut an Alka-Seltzer or Airborne tablet into pieces. You can either ration the pieces to make your lava lamp last longer or add more than one piece at a time for more interesting effects. Add pieces of the tablet to the bottle. This will cause the mixture to bubble.

Repeat every time the bubbling stops. Unfortunately, with this type of lava lamp, the effects are temporary. Put the cap on and tip the bottle back and forth. This will cause the tiny droplets of colored water moving around inside the oil to join together, making bigger lava-squirt blobs. That’s what scientists call them, anyway. Place a strong flashlight or search light under the bottle. This will illuminate the bubbles for maximum effect. But don’t leave your bottle on top of a heated surface! Plastic will melt and you’ll get oil everywhere. With Mineral Oil & Alcohol

Get a glass container. Glass can withstand heat if you want to keep your lava continuously moving — otherwise plastic will do just fine. Any container that you can seal up and shake is good. Add in a combination of 70% rubbing alcohol, 90% isopropyl alcohol and water. You’ll need more 70% than 90% to get the right density and just a few tablespoons of water should do the trick. The water is heavier and makes it easier for the “lava” to flow through. Experiment with ratios to see what warrants the best results. Add in mineral oil as your lava. If you’d like it dyed, use artist’s oil paints or shred a permanent marker. Stop before it reaches the top and overflows!.

The mineral oil will not mix with the alcohol/water solution. Don’t worry. If you’d like to dye the water, add food coloring, which is also water soluble. However, the more variables you have, the more likely it is not to work. Put it on top of a heat lamp or light. As it warms, the lava should move. If the lava isn’t cooperating, you may want to add Turpentine or another paint solvent to force it to coalesce.

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Lava Lamp Science Investigatory Project. (2016, Jun 08). Retrieved from

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