The Ultimate Lava Lamp Quiz

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The Ultimate Lava Lamp Quiz
Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About This Quiz

One of the coolest accessories you're likely to find in every teenager's and college student's bedroom is the mesmerizing liquid motion lamp. Even 50 years after they were first invented, they are still a hugely popular item and you can purchase them in hundreds of different designs. Ever wondered how they work? Take our quiz to find out.
In what decade did liquid motion lamps first appear?
1950s
1960s
Liquid motion lamps made their first appearance in the United States in the 1960s.
1970s

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How many components are there in a motion lamp?
three
There are three components: the lamp, the substance making up the floating blobs, and the substance the blobs float in.
four
six

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For a motion lamp to work, the two compounds inside must be immiscible. What does this mean?
non-reactive
insoluble
Immiscible means mutually insoluble, meaning that liquid A won't dissolve or mix with liquid B.
inflammable

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What is a classic example of an immiscible compound?
oil and water
Oil and water is a classic example of an immiscible compound, as the oil always rises to the top.
glucose and water
petroleum and water

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When a commercial motion lamp has its light turned off and is cold, what will you see in the lamp's globe?
two separate layers of liquid
You will see two distinct layers of liquid. The higher density liquid will be on the bottom, pushing the lower density liquid to the top.
a marbled mixture of liquid
numerous layers of liquid

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To get the blobs in a motion lamp to float around, what kind of substances do you need?
substances that have differing densities
substances that have similar densities
So that the blobs can alternate between rising and sinking, you need substances with similar densities.
substances that have identical densities

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How do you decrease the density of a substance?
lower its temperature
raise its temperature
To change the density of a substance, you change its temperature. Heating it causes the molecules to expand, making it less dense, and cooling it makes it more dense.
mix it with another liquid

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What happens to water when it is heated?
It expands slightly.
It expands greatly.
When you heat water it expands greatly, because applying heat causes the molecules to spread apart.
It contracts.

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When you turn on a motion lamp, what happens to the waxy, solid blob?
It hardens and drops to the bottom.
It turns into a liquid and floats to the bottom.
It turns into a liquid and rises to the top.
The heat turns it into a liquid that is less dense than the liquid it is floating in, and so it rises to the top of the lamp

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What does the waxy, solid blob in a motion lamp do when it reaches the top of the lamp?
It cools down slightly and sinks downward.
Because it is now away from the heat source, it cools down slightly. This makes it less dense than the liquid it is in, and so it sinks downward.
It cools down completely into a solid and drops to the bottom.
It remains in a liquid state and stays at the top.

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Who invented the motion lamp?
Johnny Walker
Edward Craven Walker
Englishman Edward Craven Walker came up with the idea, though it's not certain whether he based it on something he saw in a pub or when developing a complicated egg timer.
Adolph Wertheimer

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What is the best combination of compounds to use when making your own motion lamp?
oil for the blobs and a mixture of 70- and 90-percent rubbing alcohol for the liquid
The most simple combination is to use oil for the blobs and mixture of 70- and 90-percent rubbing alcohol for the liquid. Even so, you will need to experiment to get the right balance of alcohol.
oil for the blobs and a combination of water and 70-percent rubbing alcohol for the liquid
oil for the blob and a combination of water and 90-percent rubbing alcohol as the liquid

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What wattage should the light bulb be in a home-made motion lamp?
not hotter than 40 watts
Don't use a bulb hotter than 40 watts, as it can be hazardous to overheat chemical substances.
not hotter than 60 watts
not cooler than 40 watts

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Why is it better to buy a commercial motion lamp than to make your own?
It's cheaper and safer.
It can be expensive to purchase all the materials and it can be dangerous to combine and heat chemical substances.
You need secret ingredients.
Store-bought ones generally look better than home-made ones.

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What did the lava motion lamp's inventor originally call the lamp?
Lava Lamp
Lava Lite Lamp
Astro Lamp
Edward Craven Walker called his original invention the Astro Lamp.

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You Got:
/15
Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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