Loving the Lava Lamps!

I don’t know about you, but I have always loved lava lamps. Just the fact that giant blobs of some shade of hot pink or cool blue floating in a psychedelic way makes it cool. My English teacher has an orange one, and, when it’s warming up sometimes, it looks like a brain! Anyway, I’ve missed class today, and his lava lamp hasn’t been on in forever (I have him first period). I do enjoy the lava lamp, even if I don’t enjoy that class (he kind of ruins it for me). I figured,you, like me, would want to know the chemistry behind lava lamps. (And if you don’t, go read something else!)

Lava lamps contain  two liquids that are insoluble to each other, but they still have similar densities, also called immiscible compounds. Despite their similarities, one is still denser than the other, pushing the lighter of the two densities upwards. That’s pretty much all there is to it. However, they aren’t just for fun. Lava lamps can serve for heat, as the light bulb within provides heat, as any energy does, which gets absorbed by the denser solutions. This makes it expand and rise, which brings it to the top, where it cools and sinks. This repeats until the lamp is turned of. That’s why, when you first turn it on, it takes a while to move, as the heat source has disappeared. this is also the reason why the substance is at the bottom. One website states, “This entire reaction is very slow because the change in density of the solution is very fractional and as such both liquids have very similar densities.”

This is important as light can be absorbed by certain solutions, which can cause a chemical reaction. In this case, it causes blobs to rise up and down for entertainment during English class.

(BTW, I don’t hate English. In fact, I usually love English. This particular teacher is not very good, at least in my opinion, and I therefore do not enjoy his class very much. The books we read are good, though! Reading the Scarlet Letter right now!)

Links:

http://www.humantouchofchemistry.com/lava-lamp.htm .

So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!

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