A smaller bubble merging with a super bubble

Super bouncing bubbles

Reeko loves bubbles – all kinds of bubbles. Reeko loves chomping a big glob of bubblegum and blowing bubbles the size of baseballs (and as a kid, used to giggle with glee as his mother struggled to cut the gum from his hair). Reeko loves making bubbles in the bathtub using the “natural” bubble-maker method (if you haven’t mastered the natural bubble-maker method, eat beans, it helps). And of course, the science behind bubbles is quite amazing too.

Bubbles that you find in liquids are simply air that is trapped inside the liquid. Soap bubbles work on the similar principle but with a bit more complexity. The surface area of a liquid, like water, has a certain “surface tension”. Surface tension makes the surface of the liquid behave like a stretchy, rubber sheet. When you add soap to the the water, the soap serves to strengthen the weakest part of the bubble and prevents the surface from stretching beyond its breaking point. In other words, soap allows the surface of the water solution to stretch more and helps keep the bubble from breaking.

But alas, the sad part about bubble is their lifespan. They usually only last a few seconds and bust pretty fast. Unless of course, you use Reeko’s Super Duper Bouncing Bubble Mix along with a little trick not known by many outside of Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab! The bubbles we are about to create are so strong you can even bounce them on your hands.

  1. Mix 1 cup of distilled water with 2 tablespoons of Joy or Dawn dish washing soap (these brands work the best). Distilled water is preferred over water from your tap because it contains less minerals and other contaminates that will destabilize the mixture. “Soft” water will work a bit better than “hard” water too.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of glycerin. This is the ingredient that gives the bubbles their super elastic strength. You can usually get glycerin from your pharmacist or local bomb maker.
  3. Use a bubble wand to blow the bubble. Wow! They are larger than normal bubbles.
  4. Put on a pair of plastic kitchen gloves. With a little practice you should be able to catch the bubbles in your hand.

Most people don’t know that the bursting of a bubble is caused by contaminates that instantly break down the bubble mixture and destroy its surface tension. For instance, oil and dirt on your fingers is what causes the bubble to burst when you touch it. It’s doesn’t break because you are poking a hole in it. That’s why even lightly touching a bubble causes it to bust. Wearing gloves makes the bubbles easier to catch since it keeps oil from your fingers interfering with the bubble mixture.

Parent/Teacher/Advanced Notes

You can vary the ingredients to change the characteristics of the bubbles. Adding more soap allows for bigger bubbles while adding glycerin strengthens the bubble and makes them last longer (and they don’t dry out as quickly). You can even add White Karo Syrup to the mixture (2 parts soap, 4 parts glycerin, and 1 part syrup) to make super heavy bubbles. Also, remember that bubbles bust when they dry out so blowing bubbles in humid conditions and even at night will make them last longer.

Bubble wands can be purchased but you can make them too. Bent coat hangers work well as do the plastic baskets that fruits like strawberries come in. Circles cut out of a plastic container will work too. Dad’s eyeglasses with the lens taken out will provide you with a double bubble maker.

Experiment Supplies

Supplies: Dishwashing Soap, Glycerin, Distilled Water

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