Glow in the dark: DIY lava lamps

SNHS+members+gather+over+a+bottle+after+adding+food+coloring.+The+food+coloring+helps+to+stain+the+water+when+it+starts+bubbling.+Photo+by+Jennie+Chen.

SNHS members gather over a bottle after adding food coloring. The food coloring helps to stain the water when it starts bubbling. Photo by Jennie Chen.

Andrea Schlitt

On November 6, excitement filled room B101 as Science National Honor Society members prepared to make glow-in-the-dark lava lamps. Before they gathered their materials, SNHS activity manager junior Tiffany Chen stood in front of the room and explained the science behind what makes the mixture of oil and water look like a lava lamp.

During the meeting, Chen explained that lava lamps use polar and nonpolar liquids to create the effect of bubbles moving through the liquid. In the experiment, the oil was nonpolar and the water was polar, and the added food coloring helped visualize the water moving through the oil.

Each group had their own combination of colors and experimented with different mixtures to create their own unique lava lamp. Look through the steps below to create your own lava lamp at home.

Ingredients:

-Oil
-Water
-Alka-Seltzer
-Food Coloring
-Bottles/Jars

1)Fill a jar or bottle with equal parts oil and water.

Senior Rochelle Tham pours oil into an empty water bottle to create the base for her lava lamp. The mixture of water and oil helped create the bubbling effect of a lava lamp. Photo by Andrea Schlitt.

Senior Rochelle Tham pours oil into an empty water bottle to create the base for her lava lamp. The mixture of water and oil helped create the bubbling effect of a lava lamp. Photo by Andrea Schlitt.

2) Add a few drops of food coloring to the bottle to dye the water.

SNHS members gather over a bottle after adding food coloring. The food coloring helps to stain the water when it starts bubbling. Photo by Jennie Chen.

SNHS members gather over a bottle after adding food coloring. The food coloring helps to stain the water when it starts bubbling. Photo by Jennie Chen.

3) Add a pellet of alka-seltzer to the mixture to create the bubbling effect.

via GIPHY

4) Turn off the lights and shine a flashlight through the bottle to create a cool effect.

via GIPHY

For more detailed instructions, review the powerpoint SNHS presented during the meeting.