e-book Bubbles, Bubbles and More Bubbles

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Find out the secret Science Museum bubble recipe—you might even get the chance to step inside our famous human bubble. Please be aware that the show may contain loud noises, bright lights or materials that some people might be sensitive to. If you have any queries about whether the show is suitable for you, please ask the presenter or another Explainer before the show. Find out how with our amazing bubble recipe, then discover our top tips for longer-lasting bubbles and some great bubble tricks.

A water molecule is so tiny there are around 1,,,,,,, molecules in a single drop of water! These water molecules are attracted to each other which causes something called surface tension, this creates a sort of skin on top of the surface of water. This is how pondskaters can sit on top of ponds and how you can balance a paper clip on top of water. We add washing up liquid to water to lower the surface tension.

It makes the water stretchy and wibbly-wobbly so that you can blow bubbles. In our Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles show we demonstrate the art of wafting. Here are some other tips to help your bubbles last:. First make a giant bubble wand by bending an old coat hanger into a shape and wrapping string around it. Fuel your imagination and immerse yourself in a world of wonder at the most spectacular interactive gallery in the world. A captivating, interactive multi-sensory area for children to identify the many types of pattern around us.

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Javascript is disabled. You are here: See and do. How to become a bubble master Want to make the perfect bubble? Our amazing bubble recipe To make the perfect bubble, simply mix the following ingredients together. Want to know why the recipe works? Read on to discover the science behind the bubbles.

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A bubble is made from a thin film of soapy water with air inside. Many different things, such as contact with a solid surface, can cause the film to break, popping the bubble. But it can even pop without touching anything because the water in it gradually evaporates, making the film weaker. Sometimes, however, you might notice a bubble can land without popping. Whether a bubble pops when it comes in contact with a solid surface depends on many different factors, including the surface properties of the material. You probably know different materials have different properties, some of which you can see or feel such as color or density.

Materials, however, have other characteristics that are harder to observe directly.

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Surfaces can be hydrophobic repel water or hydrophilic attract water. You can observe this by dropping water onto a surface and seeing whether it forms big beads hydrophobic or spreads out in thin sheets hydrophilic. Whether a material is hydrophobic or hydrophilic depends strongly on its surface roughness. Some materials, such as sandpaper, have macroscopic surface features, meaning you can feel the bumps and see them with your naked eye. Other materials, however, have microscopic ones. Even if the material looks and feels smooth to you, it might have very tiny bumps or pores.

These can actually help the material repel water because the latter is held together by surface tension, and thereby unable to penetrate into the tiny gaps in the material. Other materials such as paper or sponges have larger gaps that help then absorb water. All of these properties, along with other factors such as how fast the bubble is moving and whether the surface is wet, can affect whether a bubble is more likely to pop when it lands on a particular surface.

Try this project to find out what works best to catch a bubble! Observations and results When all your materials were dry, you probably found smooth, waterproof surfaces did the best job catching bubbles. Wax paper, plastic wrap and aluminum foil all work well. Materials that absorb water, such as paper, probably caused the bubbles to pop because they quickly soaked up the water in the bubble. You might have been even more surprised to find some rough or absorbent surfaces such as carpet could also catch the bubbles. Carpet is composed of lots of individual tiny fibers.

When a bubble lands on the carpet it touches many of these tiny fibers at once, so they can hold the bubble up without popping it as a single fiber would. When you got the surfaces wet, especially with soapy water, it should have become much easier to catch the bubbles. The water forms a thin film on top of the solid surface, preventing the bubble from touching the solid directly.

This can greatly extend its life. This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies. You have free article s left.

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The Science Behind Bubbles

See Subscription Options. Key concepts Physics Surfaces Surface tension Hydrophilic Hydrophobic Introduction Have you ever tried to catch a bubble without popping it? Materials Bubble solution You can buy some or make your own at home with preferably distilled water, dish soap and glycerin or corn syrup. Note: You might not want to do this activity with certain materials such as wood or furniture because water could damage them.


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