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Super duty bouncing bubbles science experiment – make soap bubbles you can bounce in your hand!

Giant soap bubble the size of a car

Super bouncing bubbles experiment

Soap bubble reflecting the Golden Gate Bridge

Bubbles that you find in liquids are simply air that is trapped inside the liquid. Soap bubbles work on a 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 water, it strengthens 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 bubbles is their lifespan. They usually only last a few seconds and bust pretty fast. Unless of course, you use Geek Slop’s Super Duper Bouncing Bubble Mix along with a little trick not known by many outside of our 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.

The secret to catching bubbles without breaking them

Most people don’t know that a bubble bursting is caused by contaminants that instantly break down the bubble mixture and destroy its surface tension. For instance, oil and dirt on your fingers are what cause the bubble to burst when you touch it. It 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 from interfering with the bubble mixture.

Super duty bouncing bubbles science experiment advanced notes

You can vary the ingredients to change the characteristics of the bubbles. Adding more soap allows for bigger bubbles, while 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. Eyeglasses with the lens taken out will provide you with a double bubble maker. 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.

Super duty bouncing bubbles science experiment supplies

Supplies: Dishwashing Soap, Glycerin, Distilled Water

Image Credits

In-Article Image Credits

Giant soap bubble the size of a car via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - GNU Free. July 19, 2008
Soap bubble reflecting the Golden Gate Bridge via Wikimedia Commons by Brocken Inaglory with usage type - GNU Free. 2007

Featured Image Credit

Giant soap bubble the size of a car via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - GNU Free. July 19, 2008


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