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How can I make bubbles that don’t pop?

To make bubbles that don’t pop, add dish soap and sugar to your bubble solution. Adding glycerin to the water and dish detergent helps make the bubbles last by slowing down how quickly the bubbles dry out. Sugar also makes the bubbles last longer by not letting them dry out as quickly.

What are touchable bubbles?

Making touchable bubbles is an easy STEM activity you can try at home! If you’re tired of bubbles that pop as soon as you blow them, try this recipe for unbreakable bubbles! Now, it’s still possible to break these bubbles, but they are much stronger than regular soap bubbles. 

Key Concepts

  • Tension
  • Air
  • Evaporation

What you’ll need:

  1. 1 Tbsp distilled warm water or tap water
  2. 1 Tbsp concentrated dish soap
  3. 2 Tbsp sugar
  4. A bowl
  5. Soft knit winter gloves
  6. Bubble wand or straw

Instructions

  1. Add the water to a small bowl and pour in the dish soap
  2. Add the sugar and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Put on the winter gloves and gently blow bubbles using the bubble wand or straw

Questions you may ask

  1. Add more sugar. Do you think the bubbles are stronger?
  2. Why does sugar make the bubble solution stronger?
  3. Try to substitute ingredients and see what happens.

Scientific facts

  1. The sugar helps slow down water evaporation in the bubbles, which lets the bubbles last longer. Detergent molecules orient tangentially to a water surface hydrophobic ends outward, lowering surface energy. Just like a human cell membrane. Water diffuses through the layer and evaporates to burst the bubble, probably at the top. Sugars bind by bridging with water rather than attempting to exclude it, the trick is to reduce the evaporation rate as well as maintain a lowered surface tension.
  2. The oils on our hands can break the surface tension of the bubbles, causing them to pop. The winter gloves keep the bubbles from encountering our skins’ oils, so they can bounce and do all kinds of fun things!
  3. Bubbles that float in the air and are not attached to anything are always round because the thin wall of soap is pulling in while the air inside of it is pushing out. A bubble always tries to take up the smallest amount of space and hold the most air that it possibly can. A sphere, the round ball shape of a bubble, is the best way to take up a little space and hold a lot of air.