Reference Terms
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soap bubble

A soap bubble is a very thin film of soap water that forms a hollow sphere with an iridescent surface.

Soap bubbles usually last for only a few moments and then burst either on their own or on contact with another object.

They are often used as a children's plaything, but their usage in artistic performances shows that they can be fascinating for adults too.

Soap bubbles can help to solve complex mathematical problems of space, as they will always find the smallest surface area between points or edges.

A bubble can exist because the surface layer of a liquid (usually water) has a certain surface tension, which causes the layer to behave somewhat like an elastic sheet.

However, a bubble made with a pure liquid alone is not stable and a dissolved surfactant such as soap is needed to stabilize a bubble.

A common misconception is that soap increases the water's surface tension.

Actually soap does the exact opposite, decreasing it to approximately one third the surface tension of pure water.

Soap does not strengthen bubbles, it stabilizes them, via an action known as the Marangoni effect.

As the soap film stretches, the surface concentration of soap decreases, which causes the surface tension to increase.

Thus, soap selectively strengthens the weakest parts of the bubble and tends to prevent them from stretching further.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Soap bubble", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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Matter & Energy News
May 28, 2015

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