Bubble blowing is an art form children have been trying to perfect for generations. Now a group of French scientists may have finally calculated the physics behind mastering the form, Science News reports.
The study, recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters, suggests that it's not the thickness of your soapy film, but the force with which you blow that determines a bubble's formation. To gather their data, the researchers constructed a mechanism that would allow them to regulate the thickness of the soap and the width of the opening it covered. They then used a nozzle to blow precise gusts of air, light helium, or heavy sulfur hexaflouride gas into the film. You can watch part of the experiment in the video below.
They found that the minimum blowing speed for bubble-making is between 10 meters and 100 meters per second. Anything weaker than that caused a slight dimple to appear on the film without pushing out a fully formed bubble. The study was performed with a device significantly larger than what most kids use (about 1 meter tall), but they were able to replicate the results using a regular-sized bubble wand.
Bubbles have been the focus of scientific research for centuries. They've been used in everything from propelling Russian torpedoes to acting as the bits in a computer. These new findings could be helpful to scientists studying bubbly substances (like foams) in the future. They can also be useful to anyone looking to improve their bubble-blowing skills.
[h/t Science News]