My first darling to go is a simple extension of something that already exists; the lava radiator.

Lava lamp

Traditional lava lamp.
Photo by Wollschaf (CC BY-SA).

Remember the Lava Lamp? Of course you do; versions of it are available next to everywhere. But they are all built following the original design principle; a bottle of some kind (variants include rockets and liquor bottles), and an incandescent lamp under it, acting as illumination and heater for the wax.

Ordinary radiatorOrdinary radiator.

Photo by Bios (CC BY-SA).

That's all fine and dandy, but would a lava lamp be able to scale up to a radiator? Electrical heaters, as well as water based ones, work by being warm and emitting that heat into the space they're mounted in. But they look pretty boring.

Think of a rectangular box, perhaps 10 centimeters deep, one and a half meter wide and about a meter high, for a modestly sized radiator. Then fill it with almost 150 liters of lava lamp innards. Mount LEDs and heating resistors along the bottom.

There it is, in its monumental simplicity. A grotesquely large lava lamp that, is my thought, could do its magic in completely new ways, due to its unusual appearance and construction.

Uses and variants


Sketch of the Lava Radiator. Imagine this in color, raytraced using POV-Ray and mounted along a smooth, white wall, underneath a window. That's what I imagined. Instead, you get a crackpotogram, drawn in Gimp while riding the bus.

The lava radiator could be a nice touch to a public space. A 1000-or-more liter version could easily be an attraction in an art exhibition. Using heating resistors and LEDs instead of incandescent lamps could improve the radiator's aestethic value, as it could be used with or without lighting, and given individual control of the resistors, the internal flow of the fluids could probably be controlled in ways not possible with the original lava lamp.

If electricity is not the first choice when planning heating (and it shouldn't be, really), it could be possible to build the radiator using water heating, mounting small radiators in the bottom of the lava radiator. With a few small radiators, it should be possible to control the flow pattern in much the same way heating resistors should be able to.

The wedge shape of the radiator depicted above is a direct inheritance from the lamp it's based on. My understanding is that it reduces the fluid volume versus cooling surface ratio, giving a more articulated temperature gradient than possible with a straight tube. The same effect could be accomplished by a container of even thickness that is being increasingly creased towards the top, or simply a higher container.

This is one of the experiments I haven't considered doing. The sheer scale of it is prohibitive; just getting 150 liters of lava stuff would ruin a small country. Then you'd have to build the radiator itself...

Hi there. Welcome to the first post on Outstanding Experiments.

I'm interested in many things, and would like to experiment with all of them, be it physics, programming, social, or any number of different kinds of experiments. However, I frequently find myself having more ideas and interests than time to actually do something about them. It's time to make something happen!

I'm not the kind of person that announce his grand plans and lofty visions to the world, promising to deliver, and then goes on to the next project without the current one materializing.

I'm more of the kind that envision grand plans in his mind, work on them in secret, and hope to present the completed project to the world. Then time or other resources run out, and the project is placed on the back burner in favor of a new, exciting endeavour.

Both of these personality types have obvious drawbacks. Not wanting to be either one of them, I've decided to combine the best parts of both, and become the kind of person that bestow his genious upon the world, without having to do any hard work himself.

Which, in itself, sounds like a really annoying kind of person.

This is where I'm going to publish information about my outstanding experiments in programming, physics, graphics, and other fields. Not outstanding as in exceptionally good, but outstanding as in yet to be done, if ever.

When I first thought of this blog, I wanted to give it the humorous and somewhat morbid tagline 'killing my darlings', in part as a reference to the writers' saying 'kill your darlings', and in part because I'd be able to expel old, unfinished projects from my bad conscience. Then I realised that killing them is exactly what I've been doing all these years, keeping them under lock and key in my mind, slowly dwindling and dying due to lack of care. On the other hand, by publishing my thoughts, I just may be able to give my darlings a life of their own, hence 'Saving my darlings?'.

What I publish here will be a mix of things that are pure theory that I haven't tried for real, and things that has consumed much of my time, but never quite seem to get finished because work and life get in the way. If somebody would like to hire me to properly finish a darling or something related, I'm of course open to offers.

If what I describe already exists, feel free to tell me about it; I'd be delighted to find out more!

If what I describe doesn't exist (an intriguing, but highly unlikely scenario), feel free to implement it, and then tell me; I'd be delighted to find out more about that, too!

If what I describe is utter nonsense (a bit more likely than the above), feel free to tell me about that, too. I'd be delighted, et cetera.