Lava Lanterns

This has been a summer full of “science projects”! My sons always ask me why why and WHY for everything. They have a passion for learning and a big curiosity of how their world around them works. They asked me to do experiments with water. I told them once that oil and water do not mix and they asked me why. Since I am not a chemist nor will I write them the chemical formula of them, I simply told them that I had to show them. This common experiment made them see that they do not mix, PLUS it was neat to actually “SEE” with colors the suspended molecules. To answer their question “mom is it going to explode?” I said we can make it become like a volcano. So we turned the lava lamps into a lava volcano.
We used:

  • Alka Seltzer tablets
  • Food coloring
  • oil
  • water
  • empty water bottles
First, we filled the bottle 2/3 of the way with oil, and then we filled them with water.

They found out they do not mix! Why? because water is a polar molecule composed of a positive and a negative charge, so water molecules stick together. Oil molecules, positive and negative are further apart so oil becomes non polar. So when water molecules do not find a negative charge to bind to the oil, they bind to their negatively charged molecules, keeping the oil apart. My son kind of understood this concept because he was curious about how batteries worked and had a positive and negative sign on them!
We then added several drops of food coloring, they decided to try first with one color and then with several colors!

But what happens when we add Alka Seltzer? Lava lamp!

And what would happen if we keep adding Alka Seltzer tablets? The lava turns into a volcano!

Here is a picture of the one with mixed colors.

The kids loved them. They also put the caps on and shook them, but they found out it did not explode like they wanted to…
Come back for more science projects we have done!

Sharing the Fun at:
  Blissful and Domestic  Five Days Five Ways Do Something Crafty Fridays  504 Main  My Simple Home Life  Tatertots and Jello

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