Let me introduce to you a fantastic and easy variation of the Lava Lamp Experiment. It needs only 4 ingredients that you would likely have at home right now (or just 3 if you don’t have any food colouring!). We added a cool light underneath our potion to make it a Light Up Lava Lamp – with great effect. Read on to see how we did it, watch the video too.
Light-Up Lightning Lava Lamp
- A medium sized glass or plastic container
- Cooking oil (any kind)
- Baking soda (also known as Bicarbonate of soda or Sodium bicarbonate)
- Clear vinegar
- Red food colouring (optional or use another colour)
- Coaster light – these aren’t cheap (about £2) and this is optional, instead you could use your phone light underneath.
The coaster light kit looks like this:
- Into the container I put 2 heaped dessert spoons of baking soda, then poured in the oil, to about 2/3rds up, making sure to leave a room for vinegar.
- I dyed the clear vinegar red with some food colouring, and then poured it in, almost to the top, and left the lid off!
- Very quickly the bubble started to appear, and rose up through the oil.
- I turned on the coaster light that we’d bought for a light-up effect, it looked so cool. It was like bubbling lava erupting from a volcano during a lightning storm!
Limited Edition Kit: Make your own Light Up Lava Lamp [using the classic recipe of an effervescent tablet and water] with the cool lightning effect. Grab our brand new, but limited edition, “Light-up Lightning Lava Lamp Kit” from our online shop. Contains everything you need to make a light-up lava lamp. Click here!
Try this activity at night with the room’s main light switch off – soooo effective, really fun!
The science bit!
Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and is a alkali. It reacts with vinegar (acetic acid – an acid) to produce the gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), which bubble supwards through the oil. The substance left behind – a white gloopy substance – is called sodium acetate and water:
sodium bicarbonate + acetic acid ——–> carbon dioxide + sodium acetate + water
As these 2 products build up (sodium acetate and water) the reaction slows down and, so to repeat it you’ll need to add more baking soda and vinegar.
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Good luck and have a happy science-ing.
If you tackle this activity at home you do so at your own risk. If you have as much fun as we did, feel free to share your pictures with us on Facebook.
Bye for now
Chief Scientist at Devon Science & Sciencedipity