Bubble Pops After One Year

    Blowing soap bubbles is a fun and entertaining way to waste anyone’s time. The charm of their nature, the way they bounce and float about in the air, and their fragile manner are how others are entranced by just a liquid ball. These unique characteristics define what a bubble is, especially its fragility. Bubbles only last for a few seconds or minutes before eventually popping and dissipating into the atmosphere. However, French physicists have succeeded in creating ‘everlasting bubbles.’These bubbles can last for over a year, with the longest lasting one made, having survived for 465 days. How is this possible?

    The subject of bubbles has fascinated physicists for a long time, and the process of creating these ‘everlasting bubbles’ was a long road, with crucial discoveries being made throughout the years. In 2016, French physicists researched and figured out a theoretical model for how soap bubbles form when jets of air contact the film or the walls of the bubble. They discovered that bubbles are only formed above a precise speed, which is influenced by the width of the jets of air. In 2018, mathematicians at New York University’s Applied Math Lab formed and adjusted a method for blowing the perfect bubble through several experiments. They determined that a perfect bubble would be formed with a 1.5-inch perimeter circular wand blown at a consistency of 2.7 inches per second. In 2020, a key ingredient for creating gigantic bubbles was identified: various lengths of polymer, which is a substance known for making up many materials in living organisms, such as proteins, cellulose, and nucleic acids. The varying lengths of polymer strands made the soap film sturdier, which can make a large bubble without breaking.

To add on, making bubbles last longer was another source of interest for scientists. Normal, standard bubbles are created through soap and water. When released, gravity pulls the liquid to the bottom of the bubble. This causes the liquid to evaporate, and a very thin film is left surrounding the spherical surface. While this is occurring, small bubbles combine with the larger ones, and these effects are known as “coarsening”.

In 2017, physicists discovered that a spherical shell of plastic microspheres could store pressurized gas in a small volume. They titled these shells “gas marbles.” However, although these “gas marbles” and its properties have been conducted in numerous studies, the longevity of them hadn’t been explored yet. Because of this, a man named Aymeric Roux and his colleagues experimented with three different types of bubbles. These were normal soap bubbles, gas bubbles made of water, and the gas marbles, formed through water and glycerol. In order to make the gas marbles, they created a granular raft formed through compressed plastic particles. Afterward, the researchers coated each bubble’s surface with plastic particles. The normal soap bubbles popped after about a minute, and the drainage process for the water-based gas marbles had been rendered ineffective due to the plastic coating, bursting after less than an hour.

To make the bubbles last longer, the evaporation also needed to be neutralized. The solution to this was adding glycerol to the water. Because of the liquid’s high concentration of hydroxyl groups, and therefore a correspondence with water molecules and secure hydrogen bonds, glycerol has a better ability to absorb water. The gas marbles constructed of glycerol and water have lasted significantly longer than the other bubbles, ranging from five weeks to 465 days.

    So, the perfect recipe for a long-lasting bubble is gas marbles holding a balanced amount of water, a key ingredient for standard bubbles, and glycerol, which keeps the liquid in the bubble from evaporating. It’s an effective solution, represented by how long one of them lasted: 465 days, becoming the longest lasting bubble produced in ordinary atmospheric conditions!