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Boo Bubbles - Dry Ice Science

Ghostly, smoke-filled bubbles that you can bounce make for spooky Halloween hands-on science.

Rating: 54321

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Bubbles are cool, but bubbles filled with fog are even cooler. Just imagine the cool factor going up ten fold if you could bounce and play with these bubbles. Boo Bubbles are what you get when you fill a bubble with a carbon dioxide cloud using a cloud bubble generator that we'll show you how to make! But we saved the best for last because you’ll also learn how to roll and bounce the bubbles in your hands. It’s the combination of science and performance art!

Materials

Videos

  • Dry Ice Boo Bubbles
Print Experiment
If you don't want to make the Boo Bubbles Generator yourself, you can purchase a fully-assembled generator through Steve Spangler Science here - Boo Bubbles Kit 

 

Experiment

  1. Use a utility blade (like a box cutter) to carefully cut the top off of the two liter bottle. Make sure the the hole in the top of the two liter bottle is not larger than the funnel you'll be using.
  2. Attach a length of rubber tubing to the narrow end of the funnel by squeezing the funnel into the tubing.
  3. Use the utility blade to cut a hole in the bottom of a small plastic portion cup just large enough to fit the rubber tubing.
  4. Slide the end of the rubber tubing (not attached to the funnel) into the hole in the portion cup.
  5. Mix up a batch of your favorite bubble solution in a cup that is large enough to fit your portion cup. (View our recipe here.)
  6. Fill 1/6 of the two liter bottle with warm water and add in a few pieces of dry ice.
  7. Place the funnel over the hole in the two liter bottle. Awesome! The smoke comes pouring out of the tube! If you adjust how much of the hole is covered by the funnel, you'll see a change in the pressure of the smoke coming from the tubing. Once yo've figured out a comfortable pressure, remove the funnel.
  8. Dunk the portion cup into the bubble solution and cover the top of the bottle with the funnel and watch what happens!
  9. When the bubble reaches the perfect size, gently shake it off of the portion cup and it will quickly fall to the ground (it’s heavier than a normal bubble because the bubble is filled with carbon dioxide gas and water vapor). 
  10. When the bubble hits the ground, it bursts and the cloud of fog erupts from the bubble. Very cool.
  11. Want your Boo Bubbles to last? Shake them onto a towel!

 

Touchable Boo Bubbles!

Purchase a pair of Bubble Gloves (100% cotton gloves also work well). Blow a Boo Bubble about the size of a baseball. Bounce the bubble off of your gloves. Try bouncing the bubble off of your shirt or pants. As you’ll soon see, some fabrics work better than others.

 

Giant Boo Bubbles

Regular-sized Boo Bubbles are awesome, but Giant Boo Bubbles are even more awesome!  All you need are a few parts and pieces from around the house and you'll be making these giant, fog-filled bubbles in no time.

  1. Cover a table surface with a thin layer of soap bubble solution and spread it around.
  2. Fill the large water bottle with warm (NOT hot or boiling) water and drop in a few large pieces of dry ice.
  3. Place the shop-vac hose over the open nozzle on the large water bottle.
  4. Gas will start flowing out of the hose... make sure you don't plug the hose so the gas can't escape... that never ends well, trust us.
  5. Dip the open end of the hose into the bubble solution and put it down on the soap-covered table. A giant Boo Bubble will start forming on the surface of the table! 
  6. Keep the nozzle down and your bubble will just get bigger and bigger and bigger.
  7. When the bubble finally pops, all of that carbon dioxide gas will escape, leaving a ghostly fog behind.

How Does It Work?

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. When you drop pieces of dry ice into water, you get a wicked-cool combination of carbon dioxide gas and water vapor that bubbles out of the water. The creation of gas inside the two liter bottle quickly becomes too much volume for the two liter bottle to contain and the dry ice smoke flows over. By capping the two liter bottle with a funnel, the smoke builds pressure as it is forced into a more confined area. This pressure pushes the smoke through the tube, creating a flow of smoke that fills the bubbles.
 
Steve Spangler combined the idea of filling bubbles with dry ice fog with his Bouncing Bubble activity to create a Bouncing Boo Bubble. While blowing bubbles indoors, you might have noticed the occasional bubble that fell to the carpet but didn’t pop. Regular bubbles burst when they come in contact with just about anything. Why? A bubble’s worst enemies are oil and dirt. Boo Bubbles will bounce off of a surface if it is free of oil or dirt particles that would normally break down the soap film. They break when they hit the ground, but they don't break if they land on a softer fabric like gloves or a towel.

Additional Info

The original idea of creating fog filled bubbles came from a demonstration presented by Bob Becker in 1995 called a Leaky Faucet. Fog filled bubbles dropped from a “faucet” made out of PVC pipe. Steve Spangler updated this idea by being able to control the flow of the carbon dioxide gas with his Dry Ice Cloud Generator. Steve also added his Bouncing Bubble demo using knit gloves to create a ghostly looking “touchable” bubble that vanishes with a burst of smoke.

Check out our Halloween Science page for even more Halloween science!

Customer Reviews

boo Review by jereme worthington
54321

its cool steven

(Posted on September 8, 2009)

FAVORITE EXPERIMENT SO FAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Review by Yram Romalliv
54321

This is so awesome!!!!It's my Favorite one yet.. :D
I can't stop watching the video!..
but it was pretty hard to find dry ice but dry ice is available at the front desk at your local grocers store :D

HAVE FUN EVERYONE WHO EVER DOES THIS EXPERIMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Posted on October 5, 2012)

Boo bubbles Review by Snekha Ravichandran
54321

Great

(Posted on February 16, 2012)

AWESOME! My Family Loved it! Review by Daria
54321

I did this experiment with my three kids (ages 9,7 and 3). ALL of them were fascinated and full of questions. The experiment worked very well, was super easy, and very impressive. We LOVED IT! It is so cool to see the bubbles bounce and then when they pop to see the smoke come out...

(Posted on October 18, 2011)

Awesome! Review by Tammy Bailey
54321

This was a huge hit! The kids didn't ever want to quit making the bubbles and trying new ways to create bigger bubbles. Everyone got into it!

(Posted on January 12, 2010)

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