Lava lamps have been a popular item for decades, known for their soothing, psychedelic glow. However, one aspect of these lamps remains shrouded in mystery – the black wax. This article delves into the history and science behind black wax in lava lamps.
What is a lava lamp?
A lava lamp consists of a glass container filled with water and a special liquid, typically a mixture of paraffin wax and oil. The liquid is heated by a bulb, causing the wax to melt and rise to the top of the container. As it cools and solidifies, the wax sinks back down to the bottom, where it is reheated and the cycle begins again.
History of the lava lamp
The lava lamp was invented in the 1960s by British entrepreneur Edward Craven Walker. He was inspired by a homemade egg timer made by a scientist he visited in Poole who had used a mixture of oil and water and a light bulb to create a similar effect. Walker refined this idea, using a mixture of paraffin wax and oil instead of water to create a more viscous and appealing effect.
The mystery of black wax
Many lava lamps on the market feature black wax, which can create a mesmerizing and eerie effect when melted and solidified. However, the exact composition of this black wax has been a closely guarded secret by lava lamp manufacturers.
Thanks to some investigation and experimentation, some insights have been gained into the black wax mystery. One possible explanation is that the wax contains carbon black, a pigment that gives it its dark color. Another theory is that the black wax simply contains a higher concentration of the same paraffin and oil mixture as the other wax colors.