The Science of Bubbles!

Written by Shivani Desai


How do bubbles work? This is the important questions that we wanted to answer during our science session last week!

We learned that for bubbles to work we must weaken the surface tension of water.

Surface tension is that force that creates the "skin" of water.

But how did we figure out that water has surface tension?

  1. We examined the shape of a water droplet on a penny. What kind of shape was it, was it rounded on flat?
  2. We simulated the way that water molecules handle surface tension. We held hands and then slowly moved backwards to feel as the tension between our arms replicated the tension that the surface water molecules are being pulled on all sides.
  3. Next we figured out how to weaken this surface tension by using soap.
  4. Using our secret bubble goop solution (water and soap) we blew bubbles on our plate and examined as the bubbles changed colors. 
    1. How did the bubbles change color as it got sooner and sooner to popping? What was the color immediately before it pops?
    2. Can you predict when the bubble is going to pop?
  5. Next we created our bubble wands using pipe cleaners to blow bubbles into the air.

The soap in the bubble solution is what weakened our surface tension and allows for bubbles to form.