Filed Under: Facts About Bubbles

Why Do Bubbles Burst?

One of the great joys of blowing bubbles is getting to burst them. But, what is going on when a bubble pops? Why do they burst?

As we discussed earlier, bubbles are spherical due to air pressure pushing against the surface tension created by a bubble’s water molecules.

These two forces create a very fragile equilibrium that can be broken quite easily. If a hole is created on the surface of the bubble, the air pressure within the bubble will escape, and the water molecules — now with no force pushing from within — will collapse by folding back on its self.

What Will Cause A Bubble to Pop?

Anything that fractures the tenuous layer of water molecules can cause a bubble to burst. For example, a gust of wind or an object (like your finger) will easily cause a bubble to burst. Also, a bubble will burst if enough of the water molecules evaporate.

However, the force must be enough to break the surface tension. A nail will usually pop a bubble. But, if the nail is wet, and the bubble is thick enough, you can pierce a bubble many times without it popping. The water on the nail gives the water molecules in the bubble something to hold onto so the bubble will remain intact.

Bubble Not Bursting Source: flickr

So, if you want to catch a bubble in your hand, first cover it in a thin layer of the bubble solution you’re using. The additional liquid will prevent the bubble from drying out and bursting.

Did you know? When a bubble pops it creates a ring of baby bubbles >>

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