French physicists developed a bubble that did not burst for more than a year

French physicists have figured out a way to extend the normally short life of bubbles.

Physicists from the University of Lille on Tuesday published results in the journal Physical Review Fluids, which tell how they extended the “fragile and volatile” life of a single bubble to mentally retarded 465 days.

Soap bubbles like these last only a few moments before they burst.Rapeepong Puttakumwong / Getty Images

The typical bathtub or dishwashing bubble lasts only a few moments before it bursts due to “gravity-induced drainage and / or evaporation of the liquid” inside the sphere, according to the study’s authors.

But when scientists formed bubbles with a high concentration of glycerol – a compound commonly used in a multitude of foods and medicines – the compound was extremely effective in averting the ball’s inevitable death from pop. A bubble apparently lasted for 465 days.

“The team says that the increased life of the water-glycerol spheres comes from the stabilizing effects of glycerol,” according to a synopsis of the French team’s work published by the American Physical Society.

Glycerol has a strong affinity for water and is known to absorb water from the air. The team believes that this absorption of water compensates for evaporation, while the presence of the particles prevents drainage of water from the shell, both of which are known causes of bubble burst . ”

While the French bubble performance might seem unnecessary to a layman, New York University mathematics professor Leif Ristroph said there could be some very real applications to be drawn here.

Ristroph, which specializes in liquid dynamics and has studied the science of bubbles, said a number of researchers in medicine and consumer products always want to know more about ways to combat evaporation.

“I could imagine that the general problem of preventing evaporation could have many practical uses. A good example is literally right in front of our eyes: The film of tear fluid that covers the eye surface is microscopically thin and would disappear in no time if it was not too large molecules called lipids, “he said in a statement to NBC News on Friday.

“I daydream here, but I could imagine that it could be useful to ‘armor’ small droplets in aerosols and sprays to make them last longer in the air. For example, a form of medicine administered by spraying and breathe in the aerosol. ”

It was not immediately clear whether this French superbubble set any kind of world mark.

Guinness World Records maintains a wealth of bubble-related records, such as the tallest free-standing bubble (35.25 feet), the longest free-standing bubble (105 feet), and the largest chewing gum bubble (20 inches in diameter) blown.

But the longest-running bubble did not appear to be on the list, and a Guinness official could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

Leave a Comment