20 November 2005

The Willy Wonka of soap bubbles

Have you ever wondered why soap bubbles are always clear? I hadn't, until I read this article. Apparently, if dye is introduced to soap bubbles, it all just flows down to the bottom, creating a colored dot at the bottom of a still-clear bubble.

A Minnesota toy inventor wondered why he couldn't make colored bubbles, and spent 11 years of his life working on the problem, sometimes with funny results:

Color remained elusive, but his try-anything approach kept plenty of other strange bubbles floating across his kitchen. One exploded with a loud bang. Another gave him chemical burns when it popped. The best one bounced, just like a Super Ball. He thought he could have sold that one, but he couldn't re-create it. He could rarely re-create any of his experiments. "I never wrote anything down," he says. "I'd get too excited as I was doing it. But once I lost that bouncing bubble, I was crushed. I started videotaping myself so that next time I'd know more than ‘It was something on that side of the kitchen.' "
More in the complete post

He finally perfected a colored bubble, but it would leave a permanent colored stain wherever it popped. It would be several more years before he met up with a chemist who understood what was needed: disappearing color.

This is a long article, but REALLY entertaining. The story about his first official "debut" of the bubbles (when they were washable, but the freaked out a bunch of moms when they say their kids turning multi-colored) is hilarious.

My favorite bubbles lately have been catnip bubbles... Kayla goes BANANAS over them. :D They're glycerin-based instead of soap based, I think, because they're harder to blow than soap bubbles, but at least they don't get soap on the cat's face and paws when she pounces on 'em.


Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

That is awesome! Bubbles are neat, particularly bubbles+cats. Since it seems that they never really tire of them. They're CONSTANTLY not sure what to make of it. They'll sometimes let them be for a little while, but you know they're just sort of lying in wait to perhaps catch one and figure out what it is. I just like cats. And bubbles.

I am kind of amused by their webdesign though that made that article 12 pages! I just clicked on the "printer friendly" one, and it wasn't too awfully long, which is kinid of funny. Get those ad impressions, PopSci!

12:05 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger CatsFive said...

Ha, black bubbles are faves among the boys and pink among the girls. That's the funniest part, to me. Kudos to this guy for his persistence, big time. What a genius. Well, not a genius, but persistence. Talk about 99.99999% perspiration. LOL


10:13 AM, November 22, 2005  

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