It’s the most beautiful time of the year and in many locations in the world, winter has officially come. As many cities in the world cities celebrate white holidays, it would be a perfect time to look back on one of the most chilling viral videos that circulated on social media sites not too long ago.
Yes, this is in reference to the Youtube video of the soap bubble that slowly froze into an icy orb crystal. What better way to celebrate the holidays than by administering a fun and mesmerizing science experiment?
One of the most popular winter science experiments, the freezing bubble entranced viewers of the digital space a few years ago. To replicate the magical phenomenon, it took a thousand repetitions of the famous Youtube video, a walk-in freezer that reaches colds up to -20 degrees, and the brightest – and very cold tolerant – engineering minds of a university to decode how and why these icy marvels look and form the way they do.
There isn’t much to the trick itself. Once you hit the right proportions for the bubble solution and it’s cold enough outside, chances are, you would get to witness the hypnotic crystallization of a soap bubble.
It was the behavior, the way it crystallized that boggled the minds of thinkers the world over. But finally, not only does the world have its explanation but as well as a guide to making these crystal domes of ice.
The materials essential to the experiment aren’t exactly the most common household items but a fully stocked laundry room will probably provide you with the bare necessities. If the items aren’t available in the utility room, a quick trip to the closest store will definitely do the trick. It’s not like you’ll be needing uranium for this experiment. Just some good old soap and a few other items.
There are two main requisites to the trick: the materials and the weather. The materials, you can always buy from the store. But the weather is something that will more or less be out of your hands.
After scurrying academic journals and some science-based blogs on the world wide web, it was recorded that the optimal temperature to achieve the best results is 10 degrees celsius. It is, however, still possible to achieve positive and expected results up to -20 to -45 degrees celsius.
Here’s what you need:
• Bowl and spoon
• 200 mL warm wáter
• 2.5 Tbsp corn syrup (for thickness)
• 2 tablespoons sugar (for crystallization)
• 2.5 Tbsp dish soap (for bubble formation)
• 1 straw
• 1 water or pop bottle
• modeling clay or playdough
• A day that is cold with no wind
Once you gather these materials, you’re ready for some experimenting, and let the science begin!
Making the Frozen Bubbles
This experiment is enjoyable for people of all ages. While this exercise certainly yields some magical results that can be enjoyed by just about any person with developed cognition, the experiment will still need some adult supervision.
The experiment involves going outside in negative temperatures and chemicals in creating the solution, so everyone’s priority, first and foremost, should be safety.
Anyway, as mentioned above, the best crystallization happens at around -10 degrees. But, of course, it can still be done at up to -45 degrees celsius. As you prepare your experiment, make sure that there isn’t much wind to disrupt the bubble formation and pop the orbs before they even crystallize.
In making the frozen bubble, mix the solution in any container with a lid. Add some warm water first. About warm enough as tap water fresh off the faucet. After you add the right amount of water into a container with a lid, stir some corn syrup to make the initial solution. You will know when to stop because the solution will eventually become clear as you stir.
Your next step will be to add sugar. Make sure you follow the correct proportions and stir until the granules dissolve and the solution is clear again. Finally, add the dish soap and mix until the solutions mesh and completely combine. Stir with care. If you stir the dish soap with too much vigor, you might accidentally create too many bubbles. Just stir enthusiastically enough to combine the soap and the rest of the solution.
This is actually why the soap should come last. Corn syrup and the sugar will need a lot of stirring to dissolve. If the soap were on the mix at that point, bubbles are likely to form uncontrollably and ruin the solution.
After successfully combining all the mentioned ingredients, place a lid on the container and position it well in the freezer. If it’s called enough outside, you can leave it out for 30 minutes to chill. Remember not to let it freeze. You just want it to chill well – not freeze.
Crafting the Bubble Wand
To make the actual bubbles, you’ll need to make a special bubble blaster. So while the solution chills in the refrigerator or outside, it’s time to make the bubble wand. To craft this yourself, you will need a water or soda bottle. The bottles for the 500mL ones should be enough. Start by emptying and drying the bottle.
Secure the cap and poke a hole on it big enough to hold a straw. Please make sure that this step is administered by a supervising adult. Safety first.
Position your straw through the hole you poked onto the cap and utilize modeling clay to make an airtight seal. If modeling clay isn’t available, you can try play dough or even a glue gun. Modeling clay is only preferred because it stays pliable even in cold temperatures.
Creating Crystal Orbs
Now that you have a functioning bubble wand and a chilled solution for your ice bubbles, head outside and look for a great place to administer the experiment. It’s recommended to look for a place that has fresh snow.
Using the bubble want, dip one end of the straw into the chilled mixture. Squeeze the bottle to suck sp,e solution into the bottle. Locate a good area and ‘blow’ some solution onto the snow. After a while, it will start to slowly crystallize and it makes me for quite the shot. You can have as many orbs as you want as long as you have enough solution for it.
You may encounter some problems while forming the bubbles but once you get a hang of the proper techniques, you’re sure to get a good group of bubbles lined up in the snow in no time. It’s recommended to get the straw off the bubbles before they crystallize so you can save them from breaking as they freeze.
You can have a lot of fun playing with this experiment. For one, you can make a contest out of looking who creates the most bubbles or create towers of bubbles as well. It’s a beautiful and creative activity that will allow you and your kids to have fun in the winter wonderland.
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