Issue 9, 2021

Blowing big bubbles


Although street artists have the know-how to blow bubbles over one meter in length, the bubble width is typically determined by the size of the hoop, or wand they use. In this article we explore a regime in which, by blowing gently downwards, we generate bubbles with radii up to ten times larger than the wand. We observe the big bubbles at lowest air speeds, analogous to the dripping mode observed in droplet formation. We also explore the impact of the surfactant chosen to stabilize the bubbles. We are able to create bubbles of comparable size using either Fairy liquid, a commercially available detergent often used by street artists, or sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) solutions. The bubbles obtained from Fairy liquid detach from the wand and are stable for several seconds, however those from SDS tend to burst just before detachment.

Graphical abstract: Blowing big bubbles

Article information

Article type
23 Oct 2020
16 Jan 2021
First published
18 Jan 2021
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY-NC license

Soft Matter, 2021,17, 2404-2409

Blowing big bubbles

C. A. E. Hamlett, D. N. Boniface, A. Salonen, E. Rio, C. Perkins, A. Clark, S. Nyugen and D. J. Fairhurst, Soft Matter, 2021, 17, 2404 DOI: 10.1039/D0SM01893G

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