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On Monday we learned about a vulnerability in the encryption technology that effects most of the internet, called Heartbleed. Our team grabbed their lab coats and leaped into action to patch the vulnerability on our site.

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-- The SteveSpanglerScience.com Team

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Giant Bubble Experiment

You won't believe the size of these bubbles!

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Everyone knows that small bubbles are amazing... you can blow them, bounce them, catch them... the fun never ends! But what if you could a make a giant bubble over 1 meter (3 ft) tall? Once you know the secret behind these super bubbles, you can amaze your audience by surrounding them in a human-sized bubble!

Materials
  • Pipette
  • Dawn dish soap (not anti-bacterial)
  • Distilled water
  • Hula hoops, small and large
  • PVC pipe
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Children's swimming pool
  • Glycerin (optional)

Videos

  • Soap Bubble Science - Inside a Giant Bubble
Print Experiment

Experiment

Blowing Bubbles with a Pipette
An ordinary plastic eyedropper, called a pipette, makes the perfect bubble blower. Just snip the round end off of the pipette and dip it in the bubble solution. Blow through the skinny end of the pipette and you will get a perfect bubble nearly every time! For directions on how to bounce that bubble, see our Bouncing Bubble Experiment.

Making a Bubble Wall

  1. Take two pieces of PVC pipe (available at a hardware store... they will even cut it for you) 30-60 cm (1-2 ft) long.
  2. Attach the two pipes with a long loop of string. Thread the string through the top pipe, down into the other pipe and back up to the original pipe. Tie the ends of the string together. The two pieces of pipe should be hanging about 90 cm (3 ft) apart. Dip the entire contraption into the bubble solution and slowly pull it back out. You will find that the bubble solution is in between the pipes like a bubble wall!
  3. If you blow lightly into the wall, a bubble will pop out. Or, try putting your hand in the bubble solution so it is coated with solution. Now, put your hand through the bubble wall.... it goes right through without breaking the wall! Because you coated your hand with bubble solution first, the oils on your skin won't break the bubble.
  4. You can also try this trick with a small hula hoop. You will have a bubble ring that you can put your hand through or blow out smaller bubbles.
  5. Your audience will already be on their feet and you haven't even made it to the grand finale!

GIANT Bubbles

  1. Place the larger hula hoop in the bottom of the swimming pool.
  2. Ask for one or two brave volunteers to take off their shoes and step into the swimming pool and into the center of the hula hoop.
  3. Now, very slowly, and with a steady hand, pull the hula hoop straight out of the pool and to the top of your volunteer(s) head.
  4. Before they can say, "No way!", your volunteer is trapped inside a human-sized bubble!
  5. Your audience will go wild with applause and you can take your well-deserved bow... after you release your volunteer from their bubble cage!

     

How Does It Work?

Bubbles form because of the surface tension of water. Hydrogen atoms in one water molecule are attracted to oxygen atoms in other water molecules. They like each other so much, they cling together. Normal bubbles enclose the maximum volume of air with the minimum amount of bubble solution, so they are always round. When you stretch your bubbles across contraptions like the bubble wall or a hula hoop, bubbles cling to the sides as you dip into the solution, making the bubbles all sorts of shapes. The surface tension of water, alone, is too strong to make good bubbles. Adding soap reduces the surface tension. It also adds oily film that slows down the evaporation process, so you get longer-lasting bubbles!

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