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Wow, that bubble lasted for 465 days! Researchers create ‘eternal bubbles’

The pleasure of blowing soap bubbles will never fail to satisfy an inner child regardless of how quickly they burst. There is some good news for those who tend to feel disappointed by the ephemeral nature of bubbles. According to a new paper published in Physical Review Fluids, French physicists have managed to create ‘everlasting bubbles’ using plastic particles, glycerol, and water. They even created a bubble that survived for more than 465 days.

Scientists reported that the new bubbles can last for more than a year before they pop. Rather than soap and water, the bubbles are made of water, plastic microparticles, and glycerol, a viscous, clear liquid. This trio of ingredients prevents factors that often deflate soap bubbles. Normally, the liquid in a soap bubble sinks to the bottom, leaving a thin film at the top that ruptures easily. Additionally, evaporation weakens bubbles. The clinging of the particles to the water in the bubbles allows the film to remain thick. Glycerol in the air prevents evaporation by absorbing moisture.

Michael Baudoin of the Université de Lille in France says he was amazed when the bubble didn’t burst after days. To determine how long the bubbles would last, he and his colleagues watched them closely. Until it burst, the longest-lasting bubble ever created under normal atmospheric conditions lasted 465 days. That bubble turned slightly green before finally popping, an indication of what finally caused it to pop. According to the team, microbes took up residence inside the bubble, weakening its structure.

Professor Leif Ristroph, who didn’t participate in the study, believes this anti-evaporation technology might be useful in medicine. Speaking to NBC he said, ‘I’m daydreaming here, but I could imagine it might be useful to ‘armor’ little droplets in aerosols and sprays to make them last longer in air…For example, some sort of medicine that’s administered by spraying and breathing in the aerosol’.


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