Chemistry Experiment: Lava lamp

Time to bring back the 70’s with this experiment. We are going to make a lava lamp with simple ingredients that you can buy in a normal supermarket.

2011 was the International Year of Chemistry and the Chemistry Calendar was set up to spread the word of how chemistry is all around us. The Chemistry Calendar Experiments are linked to the different themes of the Chemistry Calendar videos to give educators and students ideas of how to work with these videos in the classroom. Enjoy!


32 thoughts on “Chemistry Experiment: Lava lamp

  1. when you said how would you explain how a real lava lamp works I am not sure if you want us to leave it in the comments or something but I am. It has a light bulb in the bottom and the closer the wax gets to the light bulb the less dense it is and it floats up and the further away it gets the more dense it is so it sinks to the bottom of the lamp and just goes on with the process´╗┐

  2. i think this is a great way to teach children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!´╗┐

  3. Isn't their inability of mixing caused by the different chemical structures?
    Considering that water is a polar molecule,while the oil molecules are non-polar?´╗┐

  4. Till i know, the Lava Lamps that you buy in a store, follow the same principle, immiscible liquids with very close-matching densities are put in a container. 3 parts of the liquid with lower density, and 1 part of the liquid with high density. Then I guess a bulb is used to heat up the bottom of the lamp, which creates motion in water due to change in density caused by temperature change. As it goes up the lamp the density changes because its cooler on the top, and returns back to the bottom.´╗┐

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