MadSci Network: Edible/Inedible Experiments Archive

Super soap bubbles

Area of Science: Physics
Meant for Grade 7-9 (age 11-13).
This experiment is inedible.
An adult should be present.

Learn about surfaces that soap bubbles form

Glycerin, water, liquid dishwashing detergent, wire.

Don't spill it on the rug or furniture.

How to do the experiment:
Make a 50-50 mixture of glycerin and water. Add 5 % detergent. A couple of tablespoons to a cup of mixture. Exact proportions are not crucial. Experiment. Make wire frames of different shapes and dip in solution. If the frames are twisted the bubbles will form minimum surface area configurations. Try putting bubbles and films together.

The surface tension causes the surfaces to form minimum energy surfaces. Very cool mathematics, very cool bubbles. The interference of light gives rise to colors in patterns that change over time as the films change witdth. See the book below for many other details.

Useful References:
"The Science of Soap Films and Soap Bubbles", Cyril Isenberg, Dover, 1992. $9.95 paper

Further comments:

Experiment submitted on Wed Jan 29 19:34:26 1997 by:

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