Every kid has a fascination with bubbles. There’s just something enticing about them. We recently spent an afternoon playing with a bottle of bubbles, which led to lots of discovery about the science behind bubbles. Here’s a few of the fun concepts we learned as we explored bubbles.
June 26, 2013 by
Our first experiment was to determine how a wand effected a bubble. We tried heart, triangle, square, and circular wands.
After trying each wand, we determined that it didn’t matter which shape was used. The bubbles came out spherical each time.
What’s happening? When you blow on a bubble, the surface tension of the bubble conforms to the shape that has the least surface area to hold it together. That shape is a sphere.
It is possible to make a square bubble. Well, you can’t actually blow it out of the wand, because it would go back to being a sphere. However you can definitely make it look like a square.
If you create a cube with pipe cleaners and then dip it into bubble solution, you will get a square inside of the pipe cleaner cube. It’s not exactly a bubble in the center, as the sides merge towards the middle, which is what forms the square, but it is quite interesting! You can also make similar figures with other 3-dimensional figures as well (and that would make a great additional experiment).
What’s happening? When you dip the cube into the bubble solution, it coats the sides of the cube. Due to the weight of the solution, sometimes it gets pulled towards the center of the cube, and it forms the square shape in the center. If one side of the solution pops, the shape in the center changes so that it compensates for the missing bubble solution.
We wanted to see what happens when bubbles collide together, to form large groups of bubbles.
When 2 bubbles meet, we noticed that the common side of the bubbles becomes a straight line.
If you have more than 2 bubbles, they merge together into groups of 3, with each having a straight line where the bubbles meet. These lines forms at 120 degree angles, which creates a hexagonal shape like that of a beehive.
What’s happening? This is the natural properties of the bubble solution, which chemically causes the molecules to react this way.
We had such a great time exploring bubbles. Despite the fact my son is growing older, he still adores bubbles, just as he did as a toddler. I’m sure that these experiments will stir an interest in even more bubble experiments in the future!
Do your kids play with bubbles? What fun things have you discovered while playing with bubbles?