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Author Topic: Oil or Water  (Read 12509 times)

Offline Roberta

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Oil or Water
« on: October 30, 2003, 05:36:00 pm »
Can anyone tell me how you can tell what liquid is in the Vintage Bubble lights.Oil or Water?

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Offline Alan Franzman

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Oil or Water
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2003, 11:45:00 pm »
I'm no expert, but here's what I believe:

None of them use water!

Some older ones used oil, but most use a liquid called methylene chloride.  I've seen some new "lava" bubble lights in Wal-Mart that seem to use a combination of oil and methylene chloride.

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[This message has been edited by Alan Franzman (edited November 02, 2003).]
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Offline James

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Oil or Water
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2003, 08:45:00 pm »
Methyl chloride is what I would have suggested as well!  But it rarely works on its own.  Put a bit of sand in there, or crushed glass bits.  Without some kind of sharp-angled object in there you will probably have a tough time getting it to boil reliably.

Best regards,

James.

Offline Alan Franzman

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Oil or Water
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2003, 06:30:00 am »
James,

AFAIK all the bubble lights that I have, have some ground glass or similar material glued in the bottom of the liquid vial.  In a few of them, there are some loose bits of grit that can get stirred up by the bubbling.  In one, the entire disc of grit and glue has come loose and sometimes bubbles form under it and push it up.

In high school chemistry bits of ceramic "boiling chips" were used for similar purpose, to make the boiling start smoothly with small bubbles and not all at once with a big burst that might splash out the contents of a test tube.
A.J.