Lava Lamp Wax Formula.

I am not a chemist, but I am sure a chemist could help me solve this problem. Lava Lamps use a specially formulated wax that is denser than water (specific gravity of 1.03). The only available formula uses dangerous chemicals like perchloretheline. This is not only dangerous, word is it doesn't even work so well.

One of the original patented formulas from britian in the 1960's (63 to be exact) specifies the following ingredients Mineral oil, light parafin, parrifin wax and glycerin, and also Carbon Tetrichloride.

These dangerous solvents do something to the wax's structure to make it just slightly heavier than water and yet retain it's wax like fluidity when slightly heated.

Now I managed to get my hands on trichloretheline, which is used in metal degreasing as is perchlorethene, and in the recommended proportions when added to melted wax did not react with the wax at all. I ended up with a very toxic soup/mush.

I'm looking for a reletively non toxic way of making this. I am determined, but don't want to poison and or blow up myself. Any clues?

I also would like to make a metallic wax/lava that looks like floating globules of mercury in an active lava lamp.

I recently heard about gallium, a biproduct of aluminum manufacturing that is actually non toxic and becomes liquid at something like 90 degrees. Any chance that this could be bound up with the parrifin to make a metallic looking wax? How about just using pure gallium for the "lava" in a lava lamp? Any chance of making that work?

Ok, you brainiacs...go to it...

Chris Dragotta.


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Everything you listed doesn't seem horribly toxic to me. That's if you don't try to eat it, or inhale a lot of it.

The CCl4 is a problem if u actually drink it (it will cause yr liver to melt down) but none of these should be a problem in a closed system. One of my three lava lights has glitter dispersed through it. As for Ga, that's not a good idea; it should react slowly with the water and anyway its density is too high.

I suspect that the ingredients have to be "cooked" probably in an autoclave to get the right effect and parafin covers a multitude of compounds and what we call parafin in the US isn't the same as parafin in the UK.

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