Lava lamp centrifuge

Like many projects, this one started with a harmless question. “Will lava lamps work in a high-gravity environment such as Jupiter?”. Well, as it turns out, this harmless question was not so easily answered. The only real solution was to test and prove for sure. To do this, [Neil Fraser] built a centrifuge in his living room. At 10 feet across and roughly 50 kilograms, this is no small toy. The end with the lava lamp is set to pivot, so at a stand still, it is positioned vertically and at full speed it is positioned horizontally. The whole process is recorded on video for proof. So, does a lava lamp work in high gravity? Watch the video or read the article to find out.

[via Makezine]

72 thoughts on “Lava lamp centrifuge

  1. @pff

    1/4″ audio connectors are actually rated for at least 250v (the one’s from Radio Shack) and in pro set ups deliver upwards of 2-3kW into loads as low as 1 ohm. The can take powering a lava lamp.

  2. I’m wondering how long it take to reach his bandwidth limit. 200MB of Videos and it seems to be hosted on a private server.
    Poor fellow, he might have to pay a reasonable sum to become a hack-a-day entry.

    Just wonder if the hack-a-day crew send some warnings to the original authors before publishing the stuff….

  3. He needs to build an enclosure around the lava lamp so that it is not effected by the cooling of the wind so the test is more realistic. Unless he is testing on Jupitor and is trying to replicate a really windy day plus the increased gravity.Like follard said…

  4. Is it just me or does it look like the base of the lava lamp is facing towards the inside of the centrifuge? Wouldn’t that make it low gravity? Or am I just blind and talking out my ass?

  5. OK was I the only one to notice that the centrifugal force applied did NOT replicate gravity as the lamps experience gravity in their normal mode of operation? The centrifuge itself is pretty far out. In that a lava lamp would most likely accompany a human, safe to assume it would be in the same protected environment and wouldn’t be damaged at all. I would have expected a lava lamp to function in any gravity to some extent, expecting the shapes, and the rate the shapes change to vary.

  6. Bouyancy functions the same because all the liquid in the lamp is in the same gravity (or force in this case?). The atmospheric pressure would not affect the gravitational force because it is applied from all directions. It would be possible to construct a lava lamp that would survive unprotected from atmospheric pressure of Jupiter (ignoring the high temps) by pressurizing the lava lamp liquids to the equivalent atmospheric pressure of Jupiter. A balloon could function in the atmosphere by using hot hydrogen just as a hot air ballon on earth does. Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story about this. The core is probably metallic hydrogen.

  7. Even if you can reason out the answer to the question using known laws of science, there is no reason not to try this. I am always surprised by the number of nannies lurking out there. This is the way people learn things! Browse through some of the older issues of Popular Science or Scientific American Amatuer Scientist Column (30’s, 40’s and 50’s) before everybody became so concerned with safety. When I was growing up I regularly mixed chemicals that children would not be allowed to touch today or wired circuits and plugged them into the AC outlet(ungrounded and you could plug in the cord turned around) sure I had explosions and short-circuits but I survived and learned from my experience. People seem a bit to timid these days.

  8. “Of course, since the atmosphere is mostly hydrogen already you’ll need a big balloon inflated with really pure hydrogen to get lift…

    Or, as Clarke suggested, hot hydrogen.

  9. They should have asked (NASA) scientists and meteorologists first and then do the test to see how off their predictions were, now that would have been a telling test I bet.

  10. I was expecting a cat to come in and start batting at the lamp, knocking if off balance and creating a spectacular crash. Or perhaps the phone’s vibrator itself it it just so happened to oscillate at the resonant frequency of the centrifuge.

    Is this something T-Mobile’s extended platinum plus warranty covers? How exactly would you explain the chunks of drywall and metal sticking out of your phone.

    To the original hacker, I have but one thing to say:
    MOAR SPEED!!!!

  11. @Jikki
    It is pointed towards the outside actually. The shot of the lamp next to the phone isn’t wide enough to tell direction from. But if you watch the beginning when the centrifuge is spinning up, you can see the lamp start to tilt inward as its base is pulled outward.

  12. Some clown put a lava lamp on a stove to see what would happen. It blew up and killed him. I was going to do the same experiment the same day, but got lazy. Thankfully I am too lazy to kill myself with idiot moves(so far).

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