07 February 2007

Freezing Bubbles

Several years ago, when my children were small, a friend told us that if the temperature outside fell below – 15 (that’s 15 degrees BELOW zero) we should try blowing bubbles. That’s right, open the jar, take out the little plastic wand, and blow bubbles in – 15 degree weather. I wasn’t told what would happen, just that it would be “really neat.”

Well, I’m always one for a challenge, so I waited. Sure enough, we awakened one winter morning to temperatures right around – 15. We bundled up and took a jar of bubbles outside. Although it was nearly impossible to hold that wet, little wand while wearing mittens warm enough to keep our hands from freezing, we managed to do it.

It was a beautiful, crystal clear morning without a shred of wind, so it wasn’t so bad.

And an amazing thing happened. When we blew the bubbles, if they managed to last long enough (several seconds) without popping, the bubbles themselves actually froze. When they ultimately landed on the snow, they didn’t pop, they just sat there. If we waited a few more moments, they became hardened enough to break, sort of like very thin glass or an eggshell.

It was a neat science experiment for a homeschool family in Maine, though I’m sure our neighbors thought we were a bit weird.

Oddly enough, I recently found a website describing this same experiment. According to Education World, the experiment will work in warmer temps, like 10 degrees ABOVE zero. That's 25 degrees warmer than what we did! Ah well, live and learn. Either way, as long as there isn't any wind, in my opinion, 10 above is not THAT different from 15 below. Cold is cold, and Maine winters are definitely that. Bubbles are optional.

Copyright © 2007 - Paulla Estes


Leanne Phillips said...

Cute story! It makes me almost, ALMOST, wish it got that cold here. :)

Anonymous said...

Does that actaully work? in maine only in maine!!!!!!!!!!!

Paulla said...

Oh yes, this works. But rather than being the shattering type, our bubbles were more like plastic that cracked. I've heard it depends on the type of bubble solution that is used.

Ico said...

Fahrenheid != Celcius