Have you ever tried to catch a bubble? If you have, chances are it popped as soon as it touched your hand. In this experiment, you will learn a simple way to catch bubbles, by understanding how surface tension works.
What You Need
- Stretchy cotton gloves
- A bottle of bubble solution with bubble wand
- A friend
What You Do
- Put on the stretchy gloves.
- Ask your friend to blow some bubbles.
- Place your hand so that a bubble lands on it. Can you catch it without bursting it?
What’s Going On?
Bubbles are made from a thin film of soapy water that is filled with air. The water drops form little bridges that link them together. The soap coats the water bridges to keep them linked up. These bridges create surface tension — they keep the bubble from bursting.
You can touch a bubble if you don’t break the surface tension. You can do this if you wear a clean, dry cloth object like the stretchy gloves. Adding dirt or oil can break the surface tension. That’s why the bubble bursts if you touch it with your oily fingers!
Now Try This
Take off the gloves and coat your hand with the bubble solution. Try to catch a bubble with your soapy hand. Which way works better for catching bubbles?
Mad Science of Austin’s mission is to spark the imagination and curiosity of children by providing them with fun, hands-on and educational activities. Central Texas youth have been “edu-tained” with our week-long science-themed camps since 1997.