©2004-2009 DewsWorld.com All rights reserved.
 
'A soap bubble is the most beautiful, most exquisite thing in nature. I wonder how much it would cost to buy a soap bubble, if there was only one in the world?'
                                                                                                            Mark Twain
References:

Bubble Festival: Presenting Bubble Activities in a Learning Station Format/Teacher's Guide (Great Explorations in Math & Science) by Jacqueline Barber

Bubble Magic by Tom Noddy

Bubble-ology by Jacqueline Barber

Chemical Magic by Leonard A. Ford

Soap Bubbles (Their Colors and Forces Which Mold Them ( first published in 1911) by Charles V. Boys

The Science of Soap Films and Soap Bubbles by Cyril Isenberg

The Unbelievable Bubble Book by John Cassidy

Bouncing Bubble Solution:

This solution will make  bubbles bounce off your clothes:

2 packages of unflavored gelatin
4 1/4 cups of water just boiled
1/4c or 4 tablespoons  glycerin
1/4c or 4 tablespoons  detergent

Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water and then add the dish detergent and glycerin.

You might need to reheat this mixture whenever you use it.

It is not really necessary that you use this formula to bounce bubbles. You can rely on the materials you use, such as wool, 100% cotton or raw silk and velvet. But the results will not be as good. The reason that these materials allow you to bounce a bubble might have something to do with the oils in the fabric, but I have a tendency to believe it has to do with the static electric charge.

If I use a regular bubble solution without the gelatin I can bounce a bubble about 6-7 times before it pops. But when I use this formula with the gelatin the number of times I can bounce
a bubble will increase to approximately 30 times.

Another thing to consider when bouncing bubbles is that when you bounce the bubble do it so the bubble spins. The liquid of a bubble starts to settle at the bottom, as the top of the bubble gets thinner. By spinning the bubble you are increasing the time it takes for the bubble to thin and pop.

If you have a pair of wool gloves you can juggle a bubble or bat it back and forth between you and someone else.

Also try blowing the bubbles so that they will land on your rug. They will roll and bounce.The longest time that I have obtained with a bubble on a rug is 6 minutes.

You can also blow then so that they ly on your dry arm by using a straw. Try picking them up with the straw and moving them to another part of your arm. I have even been able to use my arm to bounce bubbles. They will even slide off your arm.

Use your imagination!!

Carousel:

Blow one bubble that stays attached to your wand. Now, take a straw that has been dipped in your bubble solutions, and use this to blow another bubble at the bottom of the first bubble. Where the 2 bubbles attach you will need to blow 8 evenly sized bubbles. Now take your straw, and go into the center of these bubbles and blow a bubble. Withdraw your straw, and blow out any solution that is left on the straw. Take the straw and blow gently about one or two inches away from the 8 bubbles outer wall.

This will create a carousel effect. The small 8 bubbles around the center will spin around, while the other 2 large bubbles will not.

You can also make a double carousel by attaching 3 large bubbles instead of 2, and making 2 sets of 8 bubbles instead of 1 set.

Create a Galaxy:

Blow small bubbles inside a larger bubble to create this effect. You will need to make a bubble about the size of a grapefruit. You will also need to have a large wand or horn so that it can hold enough of the bubble skin. This is needed for support. The large bubble will fall off the wand if not enough support is given. After you have blown the big bubble, then dip a straw into some of your bubble solution and push it through the large bubble wall. Then gently blow a few bubbles, and keep blowing air inside the large bubble to circulate the smaller bubbles. This will create a galaxy effect inside the large bubble.

In otherwords the small bubbles inside the large bubble will look like planets in the galaxy rotating around. If you can blow a few small bubble that attach to each other inside the large bubble, then they will look like atoms/electons spinning.

3-Dimensional Shapes:
There are some people who say they have made cubic bubbles. They will use pipe cleaners (made in the shape of a cube) and dip it in a bubble solution, and say that this is a cubic bubble. This is not the way to make a cubic bubble.

 

There is much more to the common bubble than one might think. Consider the applications of surface tension, which can range from the understanding of the atomic nucleus to theories of the planetary system.

The form of bubbles and their demonstration of the laws of physics often goes unnoticed by the unlearned eye, but for those that are willing to seriously observe these spheres, it will become apparent that blowing bubbles is not mere child's play.

The aesthetic qualities of bubbles are a reason in themselves to watch these sparkling orbs. If one gazes into a bubble, you will see contrasting colors and reflections, which can be quite mesmerizing.

There is a wondrous beauty in bubbles. Watching bubbles ride the air currents is very relaxing and it can stimulate intellectual curiousity. Daydreaming can also be another pleasant effect from watching these beautiful spheres. Enjoy these simple pleasures of life, they are a rare thing in today's society, and should not be dismissed.

If you have noticed any of these things happening to you while observing these orbs, then you have experienced the magic of bubbles.

There is not a lot written on antibubbles, which humorously enough has nothing to do with a faction of people against bubbles.

Simply speaking, they are just the opposite of bubbles.

If a bubble is air surrounded by a thin layer of liquid, then an antibubble is liquid surrounded by a thin layer of air, appearing underwater.

Antibubbles are fragile and break easily, so be gentle.

A Few Notes On The Art Of Blowing Bubbles


Bernoulli's Principle (1738):

This principle states that the faster air flows, the less pressure it exerts.

This pressure is called
dynamic lift.

This can be applied to airplanes as well as bubbles.

This principle means that the pressure under an object must be increased or the pressure above the object must be decrease to keep an object afloat.

This can be accomplished by waving your hands over a bubble.


Detergents:

The best are Joy and Dawn.

Ivory and Palmolive are just ok.

I have found a reference to using Castile soap, but I would not waste my time trying this--it makes a pretty pathetic bubble solution.

Soap decreases water's surface tension and slows down evaporation.

Additives:

To make really colorful, bigger and sturdier bubbles, add glycerin to the mix.

Glycerin is a hygroscopic substance (a substance that holds water and slows the evaporation of water).

Glycerin sold in rose water or other solutions are worthless. There is also a question of quality, when it come to glycerin--common glycerin that you can buy in a pharmacy is not very good.

A less expensive additive is white Karo Syrup, but I prefer glycerin. The reason I mention this is that although Karo Syrup is less expensive, you will give-up to some degree the beautiful colors and reflections that can be obtained, and I am not willing to do this. I have also found that other problems surface when using Karo Syrup.

The Art of Blowing Bubbles

Wands:

There are many things that can be used as wands, such as:

Straws and string

Coat hangers

Plastic six-pack holder

Tin cans

Your hands-one of my favorite things to use

Water:

Soft water is good for bubbles.

Hard water, well water, and any water containing high levels of iron is not good for bubbles.

It is best to use distilled water.


Things to Consider:


Bubbles love humidity, so days that are foggy or right after a rain is best.

Bubbles are fragile, so very little wind is desired.

Direct sunlight can lessen the life of the bubble.

Carbon dioxide is poison to bubbles.

Dust is an enemy of bubbles.

Temperature of the solution can have an effect on the life of a bubble. The warmer the solution -- the thinner the bubble. They will drain faster and dry out more quickly.

A little trick is to put the solution in the freezer for a time to slow down evaporation time.

Some Formulas:
There are a number of formula variations out there.  I myself am working on my own formula, although it is not perfected yet.  I have come to the conclusion that depending on what you want to do different formulas will have to be used.

My main interest is to increase the life of a bubble, and to make it more forgiving.

I am working on a formula that uses flaxseed, gelatin, Mr. Bubble, distilled water, hydroxyethyl cellulose, dawn and glycerin. I have used Karo Syrup in the past, but have since discarded it. I find that it possesses way too many problems. I have also found problems with the flaxseed going rancid. A little bit of ammonia will correct this, however; this has created other problems. Longevity and resistance has been compromised.


Messer Plateau's Super Bubble Formula:
Distilled water                         40 parts
Sodium oleate (Na2C2O4)         1 part
USP Glycerin                          10 parts
Household ammonia               few drops

Sodium oleate comes as a white powder that floats for a time on water. Sprinkle the powder on top of the water and let the container stand in a dark place for 24 hours. Do Not Mix.

Let the powder dissolve entirely on its own. When dissolved, add the glycerin and mix the solution thoroughly by pouring the fluid slowly into a clean container and back again several times.

Store the mixture in darkness for about a week. Then siphon off the clear fluid below the scum. Add a drop or two of household ammonia to the clear fluid. Stir the solution gently to mix in the ammonia, a drop at a time, until the solution clears. Then bottle it for use.

CAUTION:
Like all chemicals, sodium oleate must be used with proper safety. Both are irritants that can harm your lungs if inhaled and cause diarrhea and vomiting if swallowed. Like most substances, both can be fatal if taken in large enough doses. If dispersed in the air and heated to 300F, sodium oleate can ignite. So it must be considered a
potential explosive hazard
. Use it only in a well-ventilated room and keep the dust well away from open flames.


This is a fairly good solution that can be made at home:
8 cups Mr. Bubbles, 1 cup Professional Line Dawn / Dawn Power-Plus or Joy Plus Liqui-Gel, 1 cup Glycerin, 10 cups water

You could also cut the water in half.

Some Things to Try:

   

A 15 foot bubble.

A 6 foot bubble.

These bubbles lasted on my arm for 3 minutes.

       

A bubble on each finger.

A chain of bubbles.

Bubbles on dry material.

To make a real cubic bubble this is how it is done.

Blow one bubble that stays attached to your wand. Now, take a straw that has been dipped in your bubble solutions, and use this to blow another bubble at the bottom of the first bubble. Where the 2 bubbles attach you will need to blow 4 evenly sized bubbles. Make sure that the 4 bubbles go all the way around so that the 1st bubble blown is attached to the 4th bubble blown. If you have done this correctly, you will see a small square appear in the center of these bubbles. Now take your straw, and go inside the bubble, until it touches the square. Blow very gently and you will see the cube appear.

One thing that you might have to do is to re-dip your straw in your solution from time to time.

If you think of shapes 3-dimensionally, then you can make any geometric shape. Just as the cube has 6 sides 3-dimensionally.

You can even make a jewel--12 sides. This is quite beautiful.

A cubic bubble.

Determine When a Bubble Will Pop:

The colors of a bubble change as the bubble wall becomes thinner.

The change in the colors are typically from green, blue, magenta, yellow and then white/white with black spots (transparent spots), then black .

This is when the bubble will pop.

The colors come from the reflection of white light--the length of the wave determines the color.

Exploding Bubbles:

Yes, you can produce explosions with soap bubbles.

Years ago they used to explode bubbles using gasoline or hydrogen, however that is way too dangerous. Now-a-days, they use helium. I listed this only as a historical reference:

You will need to place a small amount of cotton that has been dampened with gasoline into a pipe. Then blow a bubble. The bubble is then touched with a lighted match/candle to have the explosion take place.

If hydrogen gas is used a violent explosion will occur, especially if the ratio of hydrogen and oxygen is two to one.

****
Extreme care must be taken to do this.
****

I do not recommend this for the general public--I only mentioned it because it can be done.

As this is dangerous, it should only be attempted in a safe environment with a chemist's supervision.



Freezing Bubbles:

One way is to pick a frigid day (in the winter) with almost no wind. Either do it at dawn or in the shade--direct sunlight can interfere. Blow the bubbles in an upward direction, so that the bubbles stay in the air as long as possible. They should freeze before they hit the ground. Make sure that you wear gloves (knitted or fur), so that you can handle them--warm skin will pop them. 

Some say that they have even juggled them.

The other way is to create the environment:

Place a slab of dry ice flat in the bottom of the aquarium.

Wait a few minutes for a layer of carbon dioxide gas to accumulate.

Now blow the bubbles so that they float down into the aquarium.

As the dry ice turns from a solid to a vapor, it produces carbon dioxide gas--which is denser than air.

Since a bubble is full of air, it will  float on the carbon dioxide layer, similar to a helium balloon.

The carbon dioxide gas will be cold enough to freeze the bubbles.


**** Some safety tips to keep in mind when using dry ice. ****

1) Always wear gloves when handling dry ice. Cryo gloves are recommended.

2) Store the dry ice in a insulated cooler.Do not store it in a completely airtight container.

3) Work with dry ice in a well ventilated area. Too much carbon dioxide is
toxic.

4) Do not leave dry ice on tile or anything else that may be damaged by extreme cold.

5)
Never
allow children to use dry ice unsupervised.


Shattering Bubbles :


Keep a container of bubble blowing solution in the fridge.

The next time it is very cold outside try blowing the cold bubble solution.

The bubbles shatter instead of just bursting.

Bubbles That Do Not Pop:

6 parts of water
2 parts liquid detergent
1-4 parts glycerin

Most bubbles pop instantly when you puncture them, but not these.

Tie a piece of string around the stem of the funnel so that the string hangs down below the funnel.

Tie a loop in the loose end of the string.

Dip the big end of the funnel, string and all, into the bubble solution.

Remove it and blow a big bubble by blowing into the stem of the funnel. The string will lie along the outer surface of the bubble.

Using a sharp pencil, poke a hole in the bubble through the loop of the  string-- the loop of string will stretch into a perfect circle. Then the bubble will slowly collapse.

The string prevents a long tear from developing in the soap film.

According to the 20th century English physicist, Charles Boys, this can also be done by using Horse Chestnuts. To do this you slice the Chestnuts into thin slices and add a little water. The yellowish liquid contains saponine, which makes it possible to blow bubbles.

These bubbles will  be gel-like and will deflate, not burst.

This is not something that a child should do because of a
toxic compound in the nut.
They can of course become edible if repeated soaking in water and roasting is done to leach out the toxins and bitter tannins.

 The following photos were taken at Emerson Point, Florida. 
I decided to take my wand and bubble solution to the beach to see how well my bubbles would do with all that wind and sand. You would be amazed at how many people are willing to help you..and it doesn't matter what age they are.

      

This bubble lasted 34 hours in a jar.