ESL Video Quiz: Chemistry Experiment: Lava lamp

Quiz by: esale
Quiz #: 22226
(ESL Category: listening) This is a fun video, which is simple and interesting experience to make at home.

Hi everybody!
You have probably seen these lava lamps before. They became really popular in the sixties and seventies.
So we figured, in today’s experiment, we’re gonna try to make our very own lava lamp!
The lava lamps that you buy like this one here actually contain some toxic chemicals that you shouldn’t really play around with. But the good thing is that the ingredients you need for the lava lamp we’re gonna make today can all be bought in a normal supermarket and they’re completely harmless. So, this is what we need.
- Some kind of vegetable oil
- Water
- Food coloring
- And some kind of effervescent tablets
Then, we’re gonna need a container to make a lava lamp in, and any form of transparent container will work, as long as you can open up the top and pour your ingredients inside.
Alright? So, that’s what we need, let’s get started!
First, pour some water in your lava lamp container. Then, pour in the vegetable oil. You’ll need more oil than water - roughly about three parts oil to one part water.
The theory behind why this experiment works is the fact that the oil and water don’t mix. It creates this layer in between. The water, which is more dense, sinks to the bottom and the oil sits on top.
And it’s in this oil phase that we’re gonna see the effect of the bubble circulating like in our normal lava lamp.
Now, take the food coloring of your choice. Pour in a couple of drops and watch how they sink to the bottom.
You see, the food coloring is water-based. It will sink past the oil phase and into the water, and as you can see the oil still is yellow but the water is now red because the food coloring has now mixed with the water.
Ok, only one step left: the effervescent tablets. Put a couple of small pieces in, and watch what happens.
So there you have it, a fun and simple lava lamp experiment that you can reuse as many times as you wish, just put more of these effervescent tablets in there. Just don’t put too many in there. I learned that the hard way.
And the way it works is that the carbon dioxide produced by these tablets is pulling some of the water with it up to the surface and as the bubbles reach the surface, the carbon dioxide disappears out the bottle but the water droplets fall back down to the water phase and that’s creating that nice circulation of red bubbles. But the way this system works is very different to the way the lava lamps that you buy in the store work, so how would you explain how those work?
All right, that’s all we have for you today. Good Luck and have fun!


1/ harmless /ˈhɑːmlɪs/
= inoffensif

2/ pour /pɔːʳ/
= verser

3/ roughly /ˈrʌflɪ/
= à peu près, grossièrement

4/ sink /sɪŋk/
= couler

+12 -2
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