The special tool you use to make bubbles is called a “Bubble Wand”. Bubble Wands come in all shapes and sizes but no matter what 2-dimensional shape you make your wand, the bubbles will come out round like a ball (sphere). But what if we make a 3-dimensional bubble wand? Can we make a bubble that is a different shape? Time to find out!
You will need:
A washing up bowl
Washing up liquid (any brand)
At least 4 metres of medium thickness aluminium wire (can be found in most craft or DIY stores – Hobbycraft, Wilkos etc.)
Pliers for cutting/bending the wire (adult supervision may be required)
Glycerin for bubble mixture (optional)
Method – Bubble Mixture:
Fill your washing up bowl with water (most washing up bowls hold around 5 litres of liquid)
For every 1 litre of water, add 70ml of washing up liquid.
Mix gently, try not to let lots of bubbles form on the surface of the mixture.
Optional – Once the washing up liquid has been mixed in, add 15ml of Glycerin for every litre of water (Results are best if the Glycerin-bubble mixture is left overnight)
Method – Bubble Wands:
Get your grown up to cut the wire into the appropriate length using the pliers
Bend one piece of wire into a 3-dimensional triangle (tetrahedron)
Bend the other piece of wire into a 3-dimensional square (cube)
Fun Science Tip! – Make sure your 3-dimensional bubble wands are small enough to be fully submerged in the bubble mix.
If you have leftover wire, try making other 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional bubbles wands.
Submerge your tetrahedron bubble wand into the bubble mix and then take it out. You will see the bubble mixture meets in the centre of the wand, creating a strange geometric shape!
Now try with your cube bubble wand… The bubble mixture meets in the centre of the wand just like before, but this time there is a flat square in the middle!
You can try blowing a bubble into the centre of your cube bubble wand to create a smaller cube!
The Science Bit:
The bubble mixture wants to pull together tight and get as small as possible, scientists call this Surface Tension. When you blow a bubble, the bubble mixture pulls together around the air inside the bubble and the smallest shape it can pull itself into is a sphere. That’s why all 2-dimensional bubble wands make bubbles that are spheres.
When we use a 3-dimensional bubble wand and don’t let any air inside the bubble, the surface tension of the bubble mixture pulls tight into a different shape because a sphere is not the smallest shape possible.