When you were little, you probably had a lot of fun with bubbles. You probably got the most prized to some kind of game or as party fever. But whatever the reason, kids everywhere love bubbles and I am no different. So maybe I don’t put them in my bathtub or always blow them outside whenever I get the chance, but I am very entertained by bubbles. So I figured, why not do a blog post about bubbles!
A bubble is a thin film of soapy water. Bubbles are not just filled with air but they can also be filled with carbon dioxide or other gases. Bubbles have three layers. One layer of water is put between two other layers of soap molecules. According to one article, “Each soap molecule is oriented so that its polar (hydrophilic) head faces the water, while its hydrophobic hydrocarbon tail extends away from the water layer. No matter what shape a bubble has initially, it will try to become a sphere. The sphere is the shape that minimizes the surface area of the structure, which makes it the shape that requires the least energy to achieve.”
But what happens when two bubbles meet?
Instead of trying to remain spheres, the two bubbles will try to become smaller so that their surface area lessens. If the two bubbles are the same size then the quote on quote wall that separates them will be flat. However if the bubbles are different sizes, then a smaller bubble will go into the larger bubble. Eventually, if you combine a bunch of bubbles, the cells will form the shape of a hexagon.
There are many different types of soap that you can use to make bubbles, but probably the best kind of soap would be detergents. “Detergents form bubbles in much the same way as soap, but detergents will form bubbles even in tap water, which contains ions that could prevent soap bubble formation. Soap contains a carboxylate group that reacts with calcium and magnesium ions, while detergents lack that functional group. Glycerin, C3H5(OH)3, extends the life of a bubble by forming weaking hydrogen bonds with water, slowing down its evaporation.” Never thought your childhood pastime contained so much chemistry, huh?
I love bubbles, and I know that you are never too old to play with bubbles. So if you are ever bored, grab some old bubbles or detergent and run outside. Go have fun!
So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!