Soap bubbles never get old. They're exhilarating to pop when you're a kid, beautiful to watch when you're an adult and twee to play with when you're Zooey Deschanel. But how do they work?
I turned to Old Man Wikipedia for a physics lesson.
A soap bubble can exist because the surface layer of a liquid (usually water) has a certain surface tension. A common misconception is that soap increases the water's surface tension. Soap actually does the opposite, decreasing it to approximately one third the surface tension of pure water. Soap does not strengthen bubbles, it stabilizes them via an action known as the Marangoni Effect.
Well, that ought to give you something to think about as you enjoy the ten videos of absolutely gigantic bubbles after the break. They're packed with special Marangoni effects!
Here's the incredible Bubble Man on Stinson Beach. I'm starting to believe he's some kind of man-angel from a children's book:
Here, it looks like a little kid manages to run inside a gigantic superbubble on the beach in Newport, OR:
The same family goes for it again — they say the Guinness World Record for largest free-floating bubble is 5.86 feet in diameter and that this one breaks it:
Here's a guy named Dino trying his hand at it. Turns out his aim is good enough to nail his cameraperson twice:
Here's a man just makin' crazy bubbles right beside traffic in Fairfax, CA. It's a potential free car wash for someone...
Here's a whole bunch of slightly-smaller-but-still-very-big bubbles blown against an awesome rainbow backdrop:
Here's a bubble artist named Keith Johnson who specializes in making torus shapes. (FYI, a torus is "a surface or solid formed by rotating a closed curve around a line that lies in the same plane but does not intersect it." Cool.)
Here's a man in the woods "bubbling," as the pros call it. This clip has a pretty epic view of the first one popping — it looks like slow motion but it isn't.
Here's the Bubble Thing, a device which supposedly makes the "world's biggest bubbles":
And may we interest you in the Bubble Thing Deluxe?