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Trubbles With Bubbles

based on 9 ratings
Author: Judee Shipman
Type

Chemistry

Grade Level

4 & up

Difficulty Level

Easy

Cost

Minimal

Safety Issues

None

Material Availability

All necessary materials are readily available.

Project Time Frame

2-4 weeks 

Objective 

This project involves experiments with bubbles. The goals of this project are: 

  1. To identify the properties of soap bubbles.
  2. To invent a new or improved bubble solution. 

Materials and Equipment

  • Computer with internet access
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/craft/hobby supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board, wood, glue, etc.)
  • At least 3 brands of liquid soap (including Dawn dish soap, if possible)
  • Glycerin (available at your local pharmacy).
  • Large flat container for bubble solution.
  • Wire hangers (or other easily-bendable wire)
  • Anything else you can think of to blow bubbles with. Try the spoon with the holes in it. Or a hula hoop! Use your imagination. 

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay. 

Introduction 

A soap bubble is a sphere-shaped, air-filled, thin layer of soapy water. For some reason, bubbles are endlessly fascinating to people of all ages, perhaps for their natural iridescence and fragile beauty. Soap bubbles are undoubtedly fun to watch and super easy to make, but what can we really learn from them? 

Research Questions 
  1. How do you make soap bubbles? 
  2. What’s the best bubble solution recipe?
  3. What gives soap bubbles all those colors?
  4. What are some uses for bubbles and/or bubble solutions, other than having fun? 
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research 
  1. Glycerine
  2. Interference
  3. Iridescence
  4. Surface tension           

Experimental Procedure 

  1. Research related materials (see bibliography below and search terms listed above)
  2. Make a basic soap bubble recipe from (for instance) 2/3 cup Dawn dishwashing soap, 1 gallon of water and 3 tablespoons of glycerin. 
  3. Fashion the wire into any closed shape, leaving a few inches sticking out as a handle.
  4. Immerse wire shape into bubble solution and start blowing bubbles.
  5. Have someone photograph your bubble blowing session.
  6. See if a bubble will land on your sleeve, or a flat surface, without bursting.
  7. Try some other bubble solution recipes to see which one yields the strongest bubbles. Try using a different amount of glycerin, or use a different liquid soap, or add food coloring. Let your imagination fly.
  8. Compare your bubble solution to a commercial brand.
  9. Record all observations.
  10. Interpret your results in a detailed report.
  11. Include bubbles in your science fair display.
  12. Show interesting photos taken throughout the course of the project. 

Bibliography 

Wiki topic: “Soap Bubble”

http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/bubbles.html (All about bubbles)

Internet searches of your own choosing: Search for any of the terms listed above (or make up your own phrases to search), and click on any results that interest you. Have fun surfing the net!

 

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