The Spangler Effect - The Science of Bubbles Season 01 Episode 22

Uploaded by TheSpanglerEffect on 11.07.2012


STEVE SPANGLER: Ever notice there's
bubbles that don't pop?
Well, they do pop when they touch your skin.
Why don't they pop when they're on the carpet?
I think I've got some answers and some really cool things to
do with bubbles that you can try at home.
STEVE SPANGLER: I'm Steve Spangler, and I'm all about
making science fun.
For the last 20 years, I've been teaching ways to turn
ordinary science experiments into unforgettable learning
I have an amazing team who will do whatever it takes to
affect the way people think about science.
And to do that, I live by one motto, "Make it big.
Do it right.
Give it class."
STEVE SPANGLER: Well, if we're going to talk about bubbles,
we need to start with bubble solution.
And contrary to popular belief, it's not as easy as
just taking soap and adding it to water.
It probably will give you bubbles, but not the kind
we're looking for.
Well, if we're going to make great bubble solution, you've
got to start with the right things.
First of all, clean glassware.
So I don't want to use something that's dirty.
I'm trying to keep this as pure as possible.
And clean water.
Now what makes clean water?
How about distilled water?
Eight ounces of distilled water, 240 milliliters.
And of course, that's just for the purist.
The minerals, or sometimes the things that are in regular tap
water, they say, can hinder the
formation of great bubbles.
Take it for what it's worth.
We're using distilled water for these bubbles.
Soap, dish soap.
Now we're not looking for anything other than the
cheapest generic kind of dish soap, Dawn,
Lemon Joy, any of those.
We just want stuff that doesn't have apple, lemon,
orchard scented, H1N1-killing.
You just want just good, generic soap.
Into our eight ounces, we're going to add a
tablespoon of soap.
For our metric people out there, we're adding about 15
milliliters of our Dawn dish soap to the 240
milliliters of water.
And this is the basis of our bubble solution.
Well, now that you have bubble solution, you
need a bubble wand.
Don't go to the store and buy a bubble wand.
I've got a better one for you.
And they're made out of these things here called, pipettes.
If you've been in a chemistry class, these are plastic eye
droppers, so to speak.
They're used to transfer a little bit of liquid from one
place to the next.
You can see, when you squeeze, that actually you can pull up
some liquid and actually transfer it to another place.
But we don't want to transfer the liquid.
We actually want to use this as the bubble wand.
And for that, we're going to need a pair of scissors.
The trick here is simple.
You're just going to cut the very end of the pipette off.
And that's what you need.
This becomes our end for the bubble solution.
This becomes the end where you put your mouth.
This works so well because, watch this.
See the little pipette?
This end goes in.
And now there's just enough bubble solution there.
It doesn't matter how hard I push the air through this, I
get a great bubble.
And I can shake the bubble off like this.
And I've got a perfect little bubble.
It's not strong, but I got a great bubble.
If you want a stronger bubble, however, it means that we have
to go back and add something to this bubble solution that
will help strengthen the bubble.
The secret is glycerine.
Glycerine is this water soluble, very viscous kind of
material that is perfect for the bubble solution.
And the best bubble solution has always had the recipe of
water, soap and glycerine.
I can tell you that, if I put a tablespoon of the soap
inside the cup of water here, I'm only going to use about a
half a tablespoon of this.
It's pretty expensive stuff, and I just don't need it.
So about a half a tablespoon or about 8 milliliters or so,
that's perfect.
This goes in here.
You can actually see it's kind of viscous
here at the very bottom.
See how it falls in?
So it means you're going to need to stir it up.
You notice how it stirs up a little bit?
You can see it mixing.
And while you might think it's completely mixed
right now, it's not.
The secret here is time.
Let this bubble solution sit for 24 hours.
And at the end of that, you're going to have great bubbles.
You just have to wait.

STEVE SPANGLER: Or I guess I should have noticed that this
batch had been actually sitting around for 24 hours.
Thanks, Higginsworth.
A little labeling would have been nice.
You can see, when you blow a bubble, look at how much
surface area you have on that bubble.
You could imagine all the water here trying to
evaporate, just like you stepping out of the shower.
And you're cold.
And all that water is evaporating.
Same thing happens here.
That's what really causes the bubble to pop, when you're
holding it like this.
The glycerine chemically holds the water in tighter so that
it keeps it as a longer-lasting bubble.
Silly thing, though, is it still pops.
Remember how the bubble didn't pop on the carpet?
Well, I think I found a way to bring the
carpet to your hands.
You just have to get one of these silly looking gloves.
It's just a kid's glove.
It's a mixture of polyester and cotton.
It doesn't really matter.
The key here is that it's cloth.
And the other key here is that it's not touching my skin.
See, what pops the bubble is the oil and the dirt
that's on my skin.
If I could use this as the barrier to help cushion it, I
might be able to bounce the bubble on my hand.
All right, here's what we've learned so far.
Perfect bubble solution, a combination of distilled
water, Dawn dish soap and some glycerine to keep the water
from evaporating.
We've got a great bubble wand.
This is a pipette.
And you've got the glove.
Watch this.
You have a recipe for the perfect bouncing bubble.
As soon as it touches my skin, of course, it pops.
This will keep you busy for days upon days upon days.
Ever notice that bubbles are always round?
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to
figure it out, right?
You've got equal pressures pushing and pulling in all
It's just a perfect sphere.
But what if it wasn't a perfect sphere?
Could you actually change the way that bubble looks and
change the shape by using some outside help?
You can.
That's where these building toys come on.
See, these building toys are called Zometool.
They're great.
You could use anything you want.
I really like these, because it just makes a perfect cube
using these struts that are right here and these great
little spheres.
Granted, it's not the least expensive way to do it, but
Zometool is the perfect way to make the
perfect cube for bubbles.
Now, if you have a hard time finding building structures
like this, you always can use pipe cleaners and straws.
It's easy.
You just put the pipe cleaner through the straw like this,
bend it, add another one.
You get the idea.
Ultimately, you'll come up with this.
Either one works well.
A bigger container of bubble solution, and you get this.
Now watch.
When you pull it up, you get this surface
structure of this film.
And as you twist it, the film does exactly what it's
supposed to do.
It tries to maximize the area there using the least number
of lines or connecting points.
And you get this really cool structure.
Now watch.
See the little trampoline that's there?
By simply shaking it, you can make it go
this way or this way.
What's this cool shape called?
I don't have a clue.
You're going to have to find a really smart math teacher, or
ask the people over at Numberphile.
They know.
When does a round bubble turn into a square?
When you do this.

Oh, you see that bubble inside the bubble?
There's got to be a way to be able to keep the bubble inside
the bubble.
I think I've got a way to do that too.
You see, for this, you use the same bubble solution.
We just need a different bubble toy.
And that's where this comes in.
So where do you get this cool bubble wand?
Probably the same place you bought all of the
other bubble junk.
I don't know.
It's just a toy.
But you want this loop.
You could just make it at home.
All you really want is this loop.
These things on the outside really don't help me at all,
other than it just holds the bubble solution, because what
we need is to hold that bubble solution in place.
See the film that's there?
That film gives us the perfect making for a bubble.
This part just takes a little bit of practice.
But if you're like me, you'll get it in no time.
Oh, shoot.
HIGGINSWORTH: Spangler Effect, Bubble Inside A
Bubble, take two.
You got this.
STEVE SPANGLER: So if you're like me, it'll take no time at
all, just a little tiny bit of practice.
You pull like this, and you'll get the bubble.
HIGGINSWORTH: Spangler Effect, Bubble Inside A
Bubble, take three.
STEVE SPANGLER: If you're like me, it takes no time at all,
just a little bit of practice.
Watch this.
You get your bubble like this.
HIGGINSWORTH: Bubble Inside A Bubble, take seven.
STEVE SPANGLER: In no time at all,
you'll have this mastered.
You just pull the bubble like this.

HIGGINSWORTH: Bubble Inside A Bubble, take 37.
STEVE SPANGLER: In no time at all, you will have a bubble
inside of a bubble like this, because you just pull it like
this and it'll--
oh, god.
STEVE SPANGLER: In no time at all, you'll have a bubble
inside of a bubble.
You just simply pull--
STEVE SPANGLER: In no time at all, you will be a bubble--
STEVE SPANGLER: You're going to be a bubble master.
With just a little bit of--
STEVE SPANGLER: In no time at all, you will be a bubble
master, because you're going to get a bubble that is inside
of a bubble that falls on the table.
STEVE SPANGLER: So if you're like me, it'll take no time at
all, just a little tiny bit of practice.
You pull like this.
And you'll get the bubble.
And now you've got to catch the bubble upside down.
So you see how we're catching it this way?
So it's inverted on the bubble wand.
And now you're going to puff a bubble in
the bubble like that.

See, I've been teaching teachers how to blow the
bubble inside the bubble for years.
And all the kids are the same.
They want to be the bubble inside the bubble.
So what would it take for you to be the
bubble inside the bubble?
Bigger tools.
Higginsworth, get the swimming pool.
Well, you saw a bubble inside of a bubble.
And now you want to be inside the bubble?
This is what you're going to need.
Take a look.
This is a swimming pool that has about
five gallons of water.
To that, we have our dish soap,
and we have our glycerine.
And again, we just played with the quantities, until we got a
good solution.
The key here, 24 hours.
Let it sit.
And we've started playing with this hula hoop that's here.
And while that's OK, it's not nearly as good as this little
contraption we made just using sprinkler irrigation pipe.
So it didn't take much of it.
A little trip to the hardware store, and we're set.
And this gives you, now, this beautiful bubble film.
Look at this.
Now the object would be to put a kid inside the bubble or put
you inside the bubble.
That just means that you've got to find a kid.
And I think I found one.
Here's a kid.
Here you go, kid.
And if they're wearing safety glasses, it's all the better.
And if they're named Ella, it's perfect.
Is your name Ella?
ELLA: Mm-hm.
This is perfect.
All right, here we go.

I know what you're thinking.
Can you do it with two kids?
Here's another kid.
In you go, kid.
All right, two kids.
Here, just hug.
Pretend like you're sisters.
Are you sisters?
ELLA: Mm-hm.
STEVE SPANGLER: Oh, this is perfect.
All right, stay there.
Don't move.

You're in a bubble!
That was awesome!
All right, hey guys, sorry about the mess.
Can you get that all cleaned up for me and everything?
I've got lot to do.
I've got to go.
See you guys later.

Where did you come from?
I'm bigger than you are.
And I'm newer than you are.
And I am--
Oh, my god.