Lava Lamp


When i was a child, I used to drool over the things you could get for points in the back of Marvel comics.    One of them was a Lava lamp.

My coworker Mike offered one up as part of moving.  I snatched it up.  And I’ve.. been obsessing about it.

The result of my obsession:  using my iPhone 6 to do a Time-Lapse, with a lamp in the background providing additional lighting.   In 3 Instagram videos:


1. Lava Lamp Cooldown:

When heat is removed, it very quickly loses convection.. stuff is still liquid, but doesn’t move as much.  As that cools, it seems to shrink a bit.  (Although, I don’t know that the water displacement changes … i didn’t think to check that).   A cat comes by to check things out later.

2. Lava Lamp Warmup Part 1:

The liquid at the bottom builds pressure and pokes holes through the solids above it, causing some geysers and debris.   The video ends where you can see the whole mass melting a bit.

3. Lava Lamp Warmup Part 2:

More and more of the wax melts and starts playing into convection.  Once you get convection, the melting process speeds up (I think).


Looks like the heating side of things is somewhere around 127F, and the tapered area (from the bulge up) is 106F all the way up – I think that’s why its tapered like that, so that the heat loss is distributed evenly?