How do bubbles form?

February 21, 2011 at 4:05 am | Posted in nature, research | Leave a comment

Bubbles’ Beginning

Filling With Air

Always a Sphere

I suddenly wondered how a bubble forms …this is a form I would like to understand..

Look at the symmetry and colors reflected in the bubble!
  1. Bubbles always form into a spherical shape when they’re inflating. This shape is intentional. When they are initially formed, bubbles have very low surface tension because of the distribution of the soap molecules. As the bubble grows, the soap molecules are distributed more widely across the surface, increasing the surface tension. Because of the need to keep surface tension low, the bubble must form into a shape that has low surface area. Spheres utilize the lowest possible surface area to enclose a given volume, therefore they put the least amount of strain on the soap molecules. This allows the bubble to grow larger without bursting.
  2. The base solution that makes up a soap bubble is usually a combination of soap and water. This combination is ideal because it allows the bubble to best maintain its shape as it fills with air. The soap strengthens the weak areas in the water molecules and decreases the bubble’s surface tension. The decrease in tension is what allows the bubble to hold its spherical shape as it fills with air.
  3. When the base bubble solution comes into contact with a hollow-centered surface (such as the bubble wands that come with children’s toys), the solution stretches across the surface to form a thin film. When air flows toward the film’s surface, the film begins to stretch away from the stream of air. As the film forms the bubble, the soap molecules are drawn toward the weak points in the bubble, stabilizing those areas by decreasing the surface tension. When the bubble becomes too large for the soap molecules to stabilize, it pops! because the surface tension has grown too high.
  4. This could be an analogy for understanding the structure of other things 🙂 we already do this as humans … the “housing bubble”, “the bubble burst” …
This information is from Vladimir Starovoytenko’s article on

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