What I do here...

So, the main purpose of this blog is to help people learn about science. I'll be taking questions from you, the readers in all areas of science, researching them, and posting an entry answering the question as best I can. I'll also be posting anything I think is really cool, and maybe a bit of news about space. Please comment, I love to hear your feedback! This site is for general audiences, please keep comments PG-13.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bubble Trouble

Hey, this is cool:
Some researchers at Harvard have taken a closer look at how bubbles pop. Why? Don’t they just *pop* and then they’re gone?

Video coming- coder girlfriend is fixing it

Well, it turns out that’s not the case. Apparently, when you pop a bubble from the top, the film surrounding it doesn’t just disappear. A small hole appears and starts to fall towards the surface of the water as the air rushes out. The air tries to make the hole bigger, but the molecules at the edges of the hole have enough momentum to stay close together until they hit the surface. What’s left is a toroidal or doughnut-shaped bubble that quickly fractures into multiple daughter bubbles. These usually don’t last long, and pop soon after. If they’re big enough, sometimes these can repeat the process. It hasn’t been observed for more than two steps, once you pop the bubble twice the remaining daughters are too small.

What’s even more interesting is that when these little bubbles pop, they send out a tiny jet of water squirting out along with the air. The jet breaks up into micron-sized droplets that can float around in the air. You can see this in action with a glass of soda; if you wave your hand over the glass you can feel the mist sent up by the little bubbles popping at the surface. This research could lead to the development of better foams and aerosols.
And again, even more cool, this principle works with any liquid, even ones up to 5000 times as viscous as water! You could try this with maple syrup and get the same effect.

The team from Harvard encourages you to try this at home with soap bubbles.

Say it with me: Science is AWESOME!

Information taken from Science Daily, Physorg, and Physics World.

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