Science Saturday: Super Bubbles
What You Need:
- Liquid dish soap (Joy or Dawn brands work best. Try to find one that doesn’t say ‘Ultra’)
- Distilled water (tap water is okay, but distilled water makes the best bubbles)
- Clean container with lid
- Glycerin or light corn syrup
What You Do:
- Measure 6 cups of water into one container, then pour 1 cup of dish soap into the water and slowly stir it until the soap is mixed in. Try not to let foam or bubbles form while you stir.
- Measure 1 tablespoon of glycerin or 1/4 cup of corn syrup and add it to the container. Stir the solution until it is mixed together.
- You can use the solution right away, but to make even better bubbles, put the lid on the container and let your super bubble solution sit overnight. (Note: If you used “Ultra” dish soap, double the amount of glycerin or corn syrup.)
- Dip a bubble wand* or straw into the mixture, slowly pull it out, wait a few seconds, and then blow. How big of a bubble can you make? How many bubbles can you make in one breath?
*You can make your own bubble wand by cutting off the end of the bulb of a plastic pipet. Dip the cut end in solution and blow through the narrow end.
The soap mixture on the outside of a bubble is actually made of three very thin layers: soap, water, and another layer of soap. This “sandwich” that is on the outside of a bubble is called a soap film. A bubble pops when the water that is trapped between the layers of soap evaporates. The glycerin or corn syrup mixes with the soap to make it thicker. The thicker skin of the glycerin bubbles keeps the water from evaporating as quickly, so they last longer. It also makes them stronger, so you can blow bigger bubbles.
After you make the super bubble solution and let it set for at least one day, try doing some of these cool bubble tricks! Can you think of any of your own tricks to do with bubbles?