What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

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Istaro
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What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Istaro » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:32 am UTC

Lava Lamp

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So many lava videos!*

I'm sad that there's no title text, though. But the interesting MetaFilter link about the appeal of arcana made up for it for me.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby azule » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:34 am UTC

I guess I was wrong.

This week.


P.S. I'm sure the title text will show up, eventually.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby super_aardvark » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:27 am UTC

Lavarolled so hard.

I kind of wish he had actually linked to Never Gonna Give You Up at the end, though. That would have been the most epic rickroll ever.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby dantman » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:08 am UTC

super_aardvark wrote:Lavarolled so hard.

I kind of wish he had actually linked to Never Gonna Give You Up at the end, though. That would have been the most epic rickroll ever.


I actually found the idea of a reverse rickroll awesome.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:24 pm UTC

I expected to be doublefakedout and that it would really be a RickRoll since no one would be expecting it. It was a neat lava video though.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Reecer6 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:25 pm UTC

As cool as the lava burning a bunch of regular objects are, the best video in this article was clearly the woman who can make a horse out of molten glass with so much ease. Who else can do that?? I can't!!

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Znirk » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:11 pm UTC

Reecer6 wrote:the best video in this article was clearly the woman who can make a horse out of molten glass with so much ease. Who else can do that?? I can't!!


I suspect she may have practised when nobody was looking.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:22 pm UTC

Reecer6 wrote:As cool as the lava burning a bunch of regular objects are, the best video in this article was clearly the woman who can make a horse out of molten glass with so much ease. Who else can do that?? I can't!!



youcantexplainthat.jpg

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby chionophile » Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:15 pm UTC

Reecer6 wrote:As cool as the lava burning a bunch of regular objects are, the best video in this article was clearly the woman who can make a horse out of molten glass with so much ease. Who else can do that?? I can't!!


I don't think that guy would appreciate you calling him a woman. But yes, it was a cool video.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:39 pm UTC

Oh man, that can got RECYCLED!
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby azule » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:24 pm UTC

Still no title texts. Start panicking.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:44 pm UTC

azule wrote:Still no title texts. Start panicking.


If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not...

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Ray Kremer » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:22 pm UTC

dantman wrote:I actually found the idea of a reverse rickroll awesome.

I LOL'ed.
Eternal Density wrote:I expected to be doublefakedout and that it would really be a RickRoll since no one would be expecting it. It was a neat lava video though.

Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
azule wrote:Still no title texts. Start panicking.

On the images? I have them just fine.
Spoiler:
[Also, I found a bunch of lava in the supply closet I needed to use up.]
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[(Artist's conception.)]
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:47 pm UTC

OK, now that there are title texts... what is the lava doing in the "artist's conception"? Knitting? (And... that's not supposed to represent Randall's conception, is it?)
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:05 pm UTC

I thought it was two lava blobs having a lightsaber duel.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby pierovera » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:35 pm UTC

Do people actually ever read the links Randall posts (aside from videos, though you don't read them, so yeah)? When he stated on footnote (is that how they're called? IDK) #8 that 45% of manmade emissions came from gold mining, I just found it so ridiculous I had to check for myself. Truth be told, the paper he quotes states that "Burning of fossil fuels (primarily coal) is the largest single source of emissions from human sources, accounting for about 45% of the total anthropogenic emissions. Artisanal/small-scale gold mining was responsible for about 18%, with industrial gold production accounting for an additional 5–6% of global emissions from human activities. Other mining and metal production activities are responsible for about 10% of global anthropogenic releases to the atmosphere."

So it costs me to trust what Randall says when he makes mistakes as clear as this one. 45% to 18% seems like a rather big difference. At least he does state his sources, so we can at least check what he's saying.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby bachaddict » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:50 pm UTC

At first I thought the lava was cutting its way out with scissors, but I agree it's meant to be lightsabers.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Reecer6 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:05 am UTC

chionophile wrote:I don't think that guy would appreciate you calling him a woman. But yes, it was a cool video.


*sweats*
well if you ask some people we can't possibly know anyone's gender without asking...

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby keithl » Sat Dec 20, 2014 4:27 am UTC

An alternative form of lava lamp uses lava heated to incandescence in an upper chamber and poured downwards in a pencil-thin stream into a lower chamber, then pumped back upwards.

If the lava was tungsten-filament hot (3300K) and 5 millimeters in diameter, a 10 cm high stream would emit about 10 kilowatts - blindness and second degree burns for all the kids in the classroom. If merely bright red hot, 1300K, it would only emit 250 watts, still very bright, but only hurting the kids in the front row.

A mechanical pump for 1300K lava may be possible with advanced cooling, while a pump for 3300K lava requires 5000K superconductors.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby keithl » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:17 am UTC

... Molten glass is transparent. So why doesn't it look transparent? The answer is simple: It glows. Hot objects give off blackbody radiation; molten glass glows just like molten lava does, and for the same reason.

So the problem with a lava lamp is that both halves of it will be equally bright, and it will be hard to see the lava. ...

Uhhh ... no, I don't think so. A truly transparent material has an emissivity of zero, and will not be "equally bright". Glass is less transparent at high temperatures. I suspect this is because the thermal energy is high enough to form hole-electron pairs, and while the holes are trapped, the electrons are mobile enough to interact with light. But if glass was a black body, glass lenses would not work in infrared imagers.

Air works the same way - you can see room-temperature IR through kilometers of nitrogen and oxygen. Very hot air remains transparent until it gets hot enough to ionize, as in a flame. You can see through the hot air above the lava in the videos, but not through the flames.

I'm leaving out stuff about Maxwellian distributions and Fermi-Dirac statistics and such. A good solid-state physicist could provide a more accurate description. I design chips and a bit of the physics sticks in my head.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby jgh » Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:23 am UTC

"compact fluorescent bulbs"

Those aren't bulbs, unless you have some really weird onions. They're helixes.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby cellocgw » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:26 pm UTC

pierovera wrote:Do people actually ever read the links Randall posts (aside from videos, though you don't read them, so yeah)? When he stated on footnote (is that how they're called? IDK) #8 that 45% of manmade emissions came from gold mining, I just found it so ridiculous I had to check for myself. Truth be told, the paper he quotes states that "Burning of fossil fuels (primarily coal) is the largest single source of emissions from human sources, accounting for about 45% of the total anthropogenic emissions. Artisanal/small-scale gold mining was responsible for about 18%, with industrial gold production accounting for an additional 5–6% of global emissions from human activities. Other mining and metal production activities are responsible for about 10% of global anthropogenic releases to the atmosphere."

So it costs me to trust what Randall says when he makes mistakes as clear as this one. 45% to 18% seems like a rather big difference. At least he does state his sources, so we can at least check what he's saying.


Yeah, I read them, and it was pretty clear to me he was talking about the percentage of Mercury dumped into the envir., not CO2.


ETA: why is it all the new, retro lava lamps sold since maybe the 90's are so much shittier than the originals? They never do proper gloopiness, just near-spherical blob emissions.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Seraph » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:21 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
pierovera wrote:Do people actually ever read the links Randall posts (aside from videos, though you don't read them, so yeah)? When he stated on footnote (is that how they're called? IDK) #8 that 45% of manmade emissions came from gold mining, I just found it so ridiculous I had to check for myself. Truth be told, the paper he quotes states that "Burning of fossil fuels (primarily coal) is the largest single source of emissions from human sources, accounting for about 45% of the total anthropogenic emissions. Artisanal/small-scale gold mining was responsible for about 18%, with industrial gold production accounting for an additional 5–6% of global emissions from human activities. Other mining and metal production activities are responsible for about 10% of global anthropogenic releases to the atmosphere."

So it costs me to trust what Randall says when he makes mistakes as clear as this one. 45% to 18% seems like a rather big difference. At least he does state his sources, so we can at least check what he's saying.


Yeah, I read them, and it was pretty clear to me he was talking about the percentage of Mercury dumped into the envir., not CO2.

Ok, and? The report in question clearly shows that fossil fuels are responsible for just under half of anthropogenic airborne mercury emissions. Not sure where CO2 comes into the discussion, or what your point was. Can you clarify?

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby TheAbstractor » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:54 am UTC

"Sapphire Window" would make a great name for a psychedelic rock band.

That is all.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby pierovera » Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:15 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
Yeah, I read them, and it was pretty clear to me he was talking about the percentage of Mercury dumped into the envir., not CO2.


ETA: why is it all the new, retro lava lamps sold since maybe the 90's are so much shittier than the originals? They never do proper gloopiness, just near-spherical blob emissions.


Umm... What? :|

"Emissions
Global atmospheric emissions of mercury from human activity in 2005 were estimated to be approximately 1930 (range 1230–2890) tonnes. This number is in the same range as estimates of natural emissions from oceans (400–1300 tonnes per year) plus emissions from land (500–1000 tonnes per year). Re-emissions add a further contribution, with natural emissions plus re-emissions estimated to be around 1800–4800 tonnes per year, depending on the source of information and the estimation method. Although it is not possible to distinguish the anthropogenic and natural components of re-emissions, the relative proportions are likely to mirror those of the original emissions. Thus, about half of re-emissions can reasonably be considered anthropogenic.
Burning of fossil fuels (primarily coal) is the largest single source of emissions from human sources, accounting for about 45% of the total anthropogenic emissions. Artisanal/small-scale gold mining was responsible for about 18%, with industrial gold production accounting for an additional 5–6% of global emissions from human activities. Other mining and metal production activities are responsible for about 10% of global anthropogenic releases to the atmosphere. Cement production releases a similar amount. Emissions from waste incineration and product-use sources are more difficult to estimate. These emissions could be considerably higher than the generally conservative estimates of 150 tonnes included in the 1930 tonnes global estimate.
Power plants are the largest single source in most countries with high mercury emissions, although in Brazil, Indonesia, Columbia, and some other countries (in South America, Asia and Africa in particular) artisanal/small-scale gold mining is the largest single source."

I don't get where you get the CO2 thing. This article talks about mercury. The title is "The Global Atmospheric Mercury Assessment: Sources, Emissions and Transport". I highly doubt you actually read the papers, as what you just said makes no sense. And by the way, it does say that in some countries, gold mining is the largest source, but Randall's claim is still wrong (as is yours).

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Ken_g6 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:25 pm UTC

Fun fact about sapphire: its chemical formula is Al2O3. Which means that if made without impurities it's probably the closest thing we'll ever get to...

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby teelo » Sun Dec 28, 2014 9:51 am UTC

Starting to look like what if's are only every two weeks now...

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby benthicity » Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:23 am UTC

I think Randall gives up a little too quickly on the feasibility of the lava lamp. Here's how it could actually be done:

Make a kiln with two sapphire viewing ports. Cover one with arc-welder-grade darkening film. Point an ultra-high-intensity spotlight inward through the other.

For the lava lamp itself: use a sapphire container, with molten glass as the “clear” medium. Behind it, place e.g. a piece of colored pottery. _Reflected_ light from this pottery (illuminated by the spotlight) will NOT have the blackbody spectrum, and with a sufficiently bright spotlight, will overwhelm the blackbody glow. The reflected light from the pottery will be visible through the "clear" glass medium.

Now heat the kiln up to 1000 °C, so the lava won’t solidify, and apply some extra power to the base of the lamp (could be done with a heavy-duty tungsten filament) to make it convect. The molten glass will still glow, but the glow will be overwhelmed by the high-intensity spotlight. (Akin to lighting a camping stove in daylight; the flame is barely visible.) Now view the lava lamp through the darkened port, similar to how you would watch an eclipse. Voila!

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby edo » Mon Dec 29, 2014 4:53 pm UTC

Silver at 1000k vs Lava at 1000k vs Titanium Dioxide at 1000k don’t look the same. The reason is that they’re not black bodies. The high index of refraction on the TiO2 means that a bunch of the light that wants to escape hits the TiO2/air interface and goes back in.

Even clear stuff glows at these temperatures. ref. http://xkcd.com/54/. The only thing I've run into preventing black body radiation is reflection. (absorption would just re-radiate). Hydrogen and Helium are "clear media" (last I checked), but the sun is a bright yellow 5500K. (Lucky for us, it works this way. Otherwise we'd be hit with the gamma rays from the inside of the sun)

Back to the Lava lamp: So if the indices of refraction of the two media will lead to light refraction at the surfaces, so it will look like other lights that have two clear media where the light bounces off the interfaces. (Like a glass ball with air bubbles) Except the bubbles are moving. And the light is coming from inside the media.

So a real lava lamp would probably look mind-blowingly cool. (even without LSD)

Side note:
Energy needs to be added to the system (as randall makes clear at the end), and to Benthicity's point, it can be light (a lot of light), in fact, at the temperatures involved, a lot of light is going to be involved anyway... But I kind of like the light coming from the inside idea.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby benthicity » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:02 pm UTC

Edo, the purpose of the spotlight in my post/suggestion was not to add energy to the system, but to drown out the blackbody glow, similar to sunlight drowning out the glow of a camp stove flame, to allow you to see the rest of the structure (i.e. the lava inside the molten glass). The energy gradient for convection of the lava lamp would probably come from a tungsten filament or other internal resistive source, not from external light.

FWIW, sapphire has an index of refraction of 1.77, glass 1.52, fused quartz 1.46. So quartz might be a better choice than sapphire to contain the molten glass, to minimize refractive bouncing.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby dproberts534 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:43 pm UTC

Nothing would stop the molten glass from forming a solution with the lava.

I'm surprised that Randall didn't design this as a thermos bottle. He gave up too quickly.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby OP Tipping » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:20 pm UTC

Yep. Glass is miscible with lava ... indeed some lavas are quite "glassy" in composition.
Of course it wouldn't mix instantaneously so you might have some chance to enjoy the lamp, notwithstanding the fact that you couldn't really see anything except a red glow.
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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby benthicity » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:49 am UTC

OP Tipping wrote:notwithstanding the fact that you couldn't really see anything except a red glow.


Hence my suggestion of a bright spotlight and dark glasses. The spotlight will drown out the glow (like a campfire stove flame becoming nearly invisible in direct sunlight), and the dark glasses will let you view it without scorching your retinas.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:19 am UTC

What would it take for a spotlight to be visible through that?
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: What-If 0122: "Lava Lamp"

Postby benthicity » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:36 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:What would it take for a spotlight to be visible through that?


Not much, actually. In ambient interior light, molten glass doesn’t begin to noticeably glow until it reaches 1200 °C, and even then it emits mostly red light. At “lava temperatures”, around 1000 °C, molten glass actually barely glows at all. Particularly if you were to look through a blue filter (blocking red and green light), you probably wouldn’t see any glow from the glass. So the “lava lamp” should be perfectly visible through a blue filter, with the lava appearing opaque and the glass transparent. Actually, note that many common types of glass don’t melt below about 1600 °C, but some types do melt as low as 220 °C. (Google “low-melting glass”.) These latter types would have to be used for the “lava lamp” to avoid the glow problem.


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