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Physicists determine the optimal soap recipe for blowing gigantic bubbles

Physical Review Fluids
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Jennifer Ouellette
Joseph Plateau
Justin Burton
Lissie Connors


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Wave the wand slowly or blow on it to create giant soap bubbles.But what about blowing gigantic bubbles or long, thin soap films that can span two stories? He was surprised that a soap film could remain intact when stretched so thin into a giant bubble and started doing his own experiments, both in the lab and his own backyard.While perusing the open access Soap Bubble Wiki, he noticed that most of the favored recipes for bubble solution included a polymer—usually natural guar (a common thickening food additive) or a medical lubricant (polyethylene glycol).Using those recipes as a guide, "We basically started making bubbles and popping them, and recorded the speed and dynamics of that process," said Burton. "Focusing on a fluid at its most violent moments can tell you a lot about its underlying physics."The ultimate goal was to determine the perfect proportions for a bubble mixture to produce gigantic bubbles: something with a bit of stretch, but not too much, where the fluid flows a little, but not too much—in other words, the Goldilocks of bubble mixtures.As Lissie Connors writes at Physics Buzz:For their experiment, the researchers created various mixes of water, soap, and long-chain polymers to make their bubbles. In addition to measuring the thickness, they also tracked the lifetime of each film.Burton and his team concluded that it was the polymeric strands that were the key to producing giant bubbles, confirming the collective online wisdom.

As said here by Jennifer Ouellette