Science buffs will be enthralled with the underlying fluid mechanics of the lamp, which are a form of Rayleigh-Taylor instability. The hot wax inside is a different density than the surrounding liquid, but its density changes as it's exposed to heat, making it rise as it's heated by the bulb at the base, then fall once it cools down at the top of the lamp.
It's a hypnotising, scientific marvel that fits comfortably on a side table.
- Ages 12+ with adult supervision
- Size: 40 cm
- Keep upright
- Turn off regularly
- Some assembly is required
- Light bulb is included
- Voltage: 230-240V, 50Hz
- Wattage: Max 30W
WARNING: The glass lamp surface is hot when in use. For indoor use only. Keep out of reach of children.
The Lava lamp was invented by British accountant Edward Craven-Walker in 1963 after watching a homemade egg timer, which was made from a cocktail shaker filled with liquids, as it was bubbling on a stove top in a pub.
There are two liquids in the lamp that are insoluble together and have similar densities. The heat from the light bulb heats the heavier liquid at the bottom of the lamp. It absorbs the heat, expands and becomes less dense.
This change in density is small but enough for the once heavier liquid to float to the top of the lamp. As the blob of liquid moves away from the lamp it cools. This increases the density and it sinks back to the bottom of the lamp. This motion is repeated over and over again creating the continuous motion of the liquid in the lamp.
The interactions between wax and liquid are not an exact science. Your colouring may differ from the image depicted, and may change throughout use.
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Questacon acknowledges First Nations peoples as the Traditional Custodians and first scientists, makers and innovators of this land and their continuing connection to Country. We pay our respect to the Elders past, present and emerging.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that the Questacon website may contain images of people who have passed away.