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silverfly's avatar

What happens to a lava lamp if you leave it on for a long time?

Asked by silverfly (4045points) June 23rd, 2010

I noticed that the lava in my lava lamp will start to disperse more and more as time goes by. At first, there are big blobs of lava and it slowly turns into smaller more frequent blobs or bubbles. But, what happens after many hours of heat?

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15 Answers

bellusfemina's avatar

It will completely liquify and get really hot. I’ve left mine on, and all the glitter falls to the bottom and there are no bubbles- it’s just really hot liquid siting there. Not very pretty to look at when they get too hot…..

jojo22's avatar

the wax will break down into little bubbles and will not solidify properly when cooled, so then won’t break into nice big bubbles when re heated that will move about. it looks crap. try not to do it.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve had mine on for weeks at a time and not noticed any changes. I have it turned off now mostly because I turned it off and forgot to turn it back on. I was told not to leave it on for long periods of time, but I understood that to mean weeks and weeks, not days and days or hours and hours.

HGl3ee's avatar

Goes out to buy a lava lamp…

Jeruba's avatar

I wish this question were in the Social section.

UScitizen's avatar

Obvioulsy, if a lava lamp over heats, you will generate a pyroclastic flow of epic proportions.

Otto_King's avatar

Eventually it will just suddenly erupt! :)

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] @Jeruba Your wish is our command. ~
The asker decided it could go to social.

Val123's avatar

The light bulb will burn out.

At mod. I wanna puppy….NO I DON’T!! BELAY THAT WISH!!! I don’t know what I was thinking!

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, dear. Thanks! But now I can’t remember the wisecrack I wanted to make…something about leaving it burning long enough and some of our former selves will start to wander in, in tie-dye and sandals, slipping through cracks in time, to sit and groove on it for hours..murmuring things like “cool, man”...only the joke sounded much better when I thought of it the first time. Sorry to let you down so terribly.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Try using a lower wattage bulb. The heat output is directly proportional to the bulb wattage (actually, incandescent lightbulbs are better sources of heat than light). Using a 25W bulb, I’ve never had trouble with wax deterioration; my lamp is over 30 years old.

Adagio's avatar

Those that might have had an answer for you are no longer with us…

silverfly's avatar

@Adagio I dunno. I quite like @stranger_in_a_strange_land‘s answer.

Val123's avatar

@Jeruba Yeah Man! That 70’s show! Weren’t we the ones who came up with the bright idea of burning incense that smells like pot in the car, so we could argue that that smell was incense burning, not a joint? Uh. Yeah. I think that was us!

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