GRAND RAPIDS — Do you remember making bubbles as a kid? Remember how quickly they would pop? With this activity we are making some unpoppable bubbles by making a strong solution to slow the speed of evaporation. Lets get started!
What you need:
- Corn syrup
- Wool gloves/Spoon
- Mixing bowl
- Dish soap
- Plastic pipette or straw
Step 1: Pour 3 cups of water into a bowl and add 1 cup of dish soap and ½ cup of corn syrup. Mix together
Step 2: Cut off the end of the pipette or straw
Step 3: Dip the end of the pipette or straw into the bubble mixture
Step 4: Blow on the other end of the pipette or straw and blow a bubble onto the spoon or glove!
Step 5: Try and hold the bubble! It doesn’t pop!
We just created an unpoppable bubble! Bubbles are simply a pocket of air wrapped in a thin film of soap. Normal everyday bubbles are typically filled with air but technically can be filled with any gas. They actually have 3 layers with a very thin layer of water between two layers of soap molecules. The position of the soap makes its polar (hydrophilic) head face the water and its (hydrophobic hydrocarbon) tail extend away from the water.
A bubble wants to be a sphere because that shape requires the least amount of energy to be created. When bubbles stack they merge and minimize their surface area. When they are the same size the “wall” separating them is flat but when their size is different the smaller “wall” will bulge into the larger bubble. Bubbles meet and form those walls at a 120 degree angle but if enough bubbles meet they can form a hexagon shape.
The outside layer of a bubble is called a soap film and usually pops really quickly, but we just made a stronger bubble. Instead of the soap film popping when the trapped water evaporates between the soap layers we added glycerin (corn syrup) and made the soap layers thicker. This creates a longer lasting and stronger bubble with the thicker soap layers and also allows the water to evaporate slower.
There you have it, we learned made unpoppable bubbles! Send our meteorologist Candace Monacelli your pictures doing this experiments at home! She will feature future meteorologists on my Facebook page daily!