Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ freezing soap bubbles

Frozen bubble (CC use by Max Pixel)

Can you freeze a bubble? Sure. All you need is some heavy-duty winter-weather bubble mix and a wand or large straw. And a day when the temperatures dip below freezing. Here's one recipe for bubble mix:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup liquid dish-washing detergent
  • 1/2 cup white corn syrup
Adding corn syrup to the soap bubble recipe creates a sugar polymer and a stronger bubble that can survive freezing temperatures.

Head out and try blowing bubbles. Sometimes they will freeze in the air. If that doesn't work, coat a porch railing with a bit of soap solution and then blow a bubble on top of that. Or blow a bubble and attach it to pine needles or winter weeds.

As the bubbles freeze, it looks like bits of frost or snowflakes are forming and growing. What's happening is that the soap bubble is made up of three layers: a thin layer of water molecules squished between two layers of soap. The water layer freezes first, and at lower temperatures than the soap layer.

More Things to Do
  • Make bubbles using bubble mix that has been cooled in a refrigerator for 15 minutes or so, and compare with bubbles made using room-temperature mix.
  • Try adding sugar to some mix. Does it help bubbles form faster?
  • Poke a frozen bubble. What happens? 
  • Try to take photos or videos of your bubbles
  • Compare bubbles made with a straw versus those made with a wand.
  • What happens if you put a drop of food coloring in the mix?
  • Try capturing a bubble and putting it in the freezer
If you live where it is warm: blow a bubble on a plastic plate or jar lid and put it in the freezer. What happens?

1 comment:

  1. What a fun idea! Now I need to find a store that sells corn syrup without salt...