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Why does a homemade lava lamp work?

In a real one, however, the densities of the liquids are much closer together than
vegetable oil and water. The denser liquid sinks to the bottom, but the lava lamplight
heats it up until it expands and becomes less dense, causing it to rise upward. ... These
stick to the water droplets.

What is the chemical reaction in a lava lamp?

For the lava lamp action, when water and alka seltzer combine they form carbon
dioxide. The gas bubbles rise through the oil carrying the colored water. When the
chemical reaction slows, the colored water falls back down. You can add
more alkaseltzer

How do you make a homemade lava lamp?

What You Do:
1. Fill the flask most of the way with vegetable oil.
2. Fill the rest of the flask with water. ...
3. Add a few drops of food coloring; your choice of color. ...
4. Break an alka-seltzer tablet into a few small pieces, and drop them in the flask one at a
5. Watch your lava lamp erupt into activity!

How does a lava lamp work?

In a liquid motion lamp, the heat usually comes from a light bulb. The heavier liquid
absorbs the heat, and as it heats up, it expands. As it expands it becomes less dense.
Because the liquids have very similar densities, the formerly heavier liquid is suddenly
lighter than the other liquid, so it rises.


Final Report
Final Report

This Science Project is about Lava Lamps. We based our science project on the simple concept of
density. The Lava lamp it self works in the same sense as a regular lava lamp except for the way the
bubbles rise. Our lava lamp works because of tablet that makes the bottom liquid rise because it is
carbonated. The lava lamp itself is made with vegetable oil (the liquid that is used in all the Lava Lamps
because it is less dense than all the testing liquids), 3 different types of testing liquids (water, vinegar
and Soda which all have different densities but are still more dense than the base liquid), food coloring
(to make the testing liquids visible) and lastly and effervescent table such as alka seltzer (which helps
in making the testing liquids rise).

Which liquids out of all the three, which are water, vinegar and soda, would be the most efficient at
making the bubbles rise faster throughout the Lava Lamp?

If water is the least dense out of all the testing liquids then it will rise faster than all the other testing
liquids because it is less dense.

Materials and Diagram

Material List:
1. 3 bottles with the same volume
2. Vegetable Oil
3. Water

4. Vinegar
5. Soda (preferably Sprite)
6. Alka Seltzer Tablets
7. Food Coloring
8. Stop Watch
9. Source of Light (Optional, to make the
Lava Lamp look cooler

Independent Variables:
2. Vinegar
3. Soda (Sprite)

Dependent Variables
1. The Volume/size of each bottle
2.The the volume of the base liquid
3. The Volume of the testing liquids
4. Use the same amount of Alka Seltzer
on each test run
11. Take one of the three bottles and take of the cap.
22. Fill the bottle ¼ of the way up with one of the testing liquids, in this case water.
33. Then fill the rest of the bottle, or ¾ of the ways up, with Vegetable Oil. Then wait for both liquids to settle
accordingly based on their densities
44. Then grab any color of food coloring and pour a few drops into the bottle, then wait for the food coloring
to fall to the bottom and mix with the water.

Experiment Instructions
11. Open the cap of the bottle that already has been prepped with vegetable oil and the testing liquid (in this
case the testing liquid would be water).
22. Prepare a stopwatch and a recording device to record your data.
33. Take a tablet of Alka Seltzer and split it in half.
44. Take half of the tablet and ready your timer.
54. Then drop it in the bottle and get your timer to start the stopwatch.
6.6 Stop the stopwatch once the first bubble reaches the top of the vegetable oil.
77. That’s the time you will place in your data table.
88. Then repeat the process two more times to get an accurate result.
99. Then repeat this process for the two other testing liquids you have yet to use.

Data and Analysis

It seems as if out of all the liquids water, overall on average, has the fastest bubble-rise time. Although
on some points water took longer than other liquids it overall was the most consistent.
In conclusion, our hypothesis has been proven correct; water is indeed the most efficient type of
liquid to use for a Lava lamp. This can be proved based on the data given. It shows that water has an over
all bubble-rise time of 3.91 while the others have had a longer time (soda: 4.00, vinegar: 4.34). This is
proven based of our prediction's main idea of substances with lighter densities rise, while substances
with more densities sink. It's the same reason to why cold liquids stay at the bottom and hot liquids rise
to the top and eventually evaporate. So based on our results and our given reasoning we can say that the
best liquid to use in a homemade lava lamp would be water.

Overall the experiment had gone on quite well. Our Hypothesis had been proven right due to substantial
reasoning. But like in all experiments there were times when things might’ve gotten a little bit out of
hand. In the testing face, out of all the steps in the experiment, is where most of the errors occurred.
When timing the bubble-rise time for some of the test liquids, we might’ve stopped the timer to early or
too late because the way we tested our experiment was mostly relied upon human reaction. And another
big issue that came up was irrelevant to the result of the experiment but is still substantially important
to mention. The division of work was unfairly divided. Some people were doing less work than others and
some of the work wasn’t completed on time because some people just didn’t do the work. But other than
that overall the experiment went smoothly.