• Wednesday, July 23, 2014

EVERYDAY SCIENCE

Make your own lava lamp!

Labiba Mustabina

Having a bad day? Need some cheering up? Brighten your day up with your very own, very easy to make, kaleidoscope of a lamp -- the Lava lamp! The lazily flowing colourful blobs will immediately teleport you to a carefree state of mind and artless happiness. Conveniently enough, the enchanting bliss of this magnifique invention can be experienced by you at the expense of a very few common household items.
Things you'll need
First, you have to gather a few things to create all the awesomeness that becomes the lamp. You will need a plastic bottle, preferably with a flat bottom; 1 litre should be the best size. Then, to fill the bottle you will need water and vegetable or cooking oil. Next on the list is food colouring which will bring about all the psychedelic colour action in your lamp. However, if you are unable to get your hands on some food colouring you could always go for any water based paint. Lastly but most essentially, you will need Antacid tablets which basically makes the whole magic happen. However, if you do fail in getting Antacid tablets, salt can act as a great substitute.
 

Lamp in the making...
Fill up your bottle with 1 cup of water. Fill the rest of it with cooking oil but be careful not to fill it up to the top, you wouldn't want to deal with the mess of oil leaking everywhere! Wait for a few minutes as the layers separate out, water settling at the bottom and oil floating above it. Now it's time to adorn your lamp with the most vivid of colours; add 10 drops or more of the food colouring (or any alternative). Wait till the drops pass through the oil, sink to the bottom and mix with the water. Finally take antacid tablets and break them into small fractions. Then, it's only a matter of dropping the fragments into the bottle and the show begins.
How it works you ask?
The antacid tablets sink through the oil unaffected. As it reaches the water at the bottom, the antacid reacts with water to form gas bubbles of carbon dioxide. As the bubbles are lighter in density than the oil and the water, the bubbles rise up, carrying coloured droplets of water across the layer of oil. As the bubbles pop, the water droplets appearing as coloured blobs sink back through the oil layer to the bottom. This happens since oil and water are immiscible liquids and they differ in density. Please note that the bottle should only be capped after all the effervescence stops and don't try heating your lamp; we don't want an explosion do we?
In the end, if you feel like upgrading the groove, place a torchlight under your bottle and embrace yourself to get hypnotised by the dreamy illumination of your very own lava lamp.

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Published: 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2014

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