|MadSci Network: Other|
Bubbles are films of a solution stretched around some kind of fluid, usually air. The film that is easiest to make is a soap (or detergent) in water solution. The the film has thickness and an inside and an outside. Soap and detergent molecules are long thin molecules with many hydrogen atoms that attract each other. They have an electrically charged end that is attracted to water. The soap bubble surfaces have the soap or detergent molecules arranged so that they line up side by side. In the middle of the film is a water and soap solution. Cell membranes have a lot in common with soap bubbles. Instead of soap, the membranes are built with fatty acids and di- and triglycerides. Cholesterol is important in keeping cell membranes flexible. Try making a soap solution with liquid dishwashing detergent about 5%, water and glycerin. The more glycerin you use up to 50%, the longer the bubbles will last. If these bubbles are protected, they may last days or weeks. Many important scientists have been fascinated by bubbles and there are many mathematical and physical properties that have been discovered. Dover still publishes a book called "The science of soap films and soap bubbles", by Cyril Isenberg. I paid US$9.95 for my copy.
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