CuriousScience

Why does soap make bubbles?

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When it comes to staying clean, soap bubbles are hard to avoid. In fact, they seem to "pop" up when you least expect them! But what is it about soap that causes these bubbles to form?

If you've ever tried to blow a bubble using a bubble wand and plain water, you probably haven't had much luck. That's because of something called surface tension: the tiny molecules in water's outer layer cling to each other tightly, making the water less flexible, which keeps a curvy bubble from forming. But add soap, and the water's surface tension decreases. Together, the soap and water "stretch" much easier than water alone, making a circle-shaped bubble around air that gets trapped inside!

Sometimes this air comes from your breath, as when you blow bubbles with soapy water and a wand. At other times, the air and soapy water form a bubble during everyday tasks, like washing your hands at the sink!I think we'd all agree that bubbles make clean-up time much more fun!

by Mya Kagan (Whyzz writer)

Exploration

Now it's time to make double the bubbles. With the help of bubble mix and a wand, blow some bubbles! Now see if you can catch two""one on top of the other""with your wand. What happens when one bubble lands on top of the other? The bubbles join and share a wall!

Sources

Pepling, Rachel. Soap Bubbles. Chemical & Engineering News.Hipschman, Ron. Bubbles. exploratorium.edu