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How Do I Make Antibubbles?

It takes a bit of a knack to make antibubbles, but with some practice anybody can do it reliably. I use a plastic bottle with a squirt nozzle. Something like a plastic ketchup bottle is good. Clean it well. The nozzle needs to have a pretty big hole. About 2-3 mm seems good.

Fill a clear glass bowl with water and add a little dish detergent. Some people like to use the same mix as for ordinary bubbles, but I think that's a bit too strong for antibubbles. Try more water.

Pour some of the soapy water into the squirt bottle. Clear off any suds that have formed on the top of the water in the bowl. Now you are ready.

You need to squirt the water from the bottle into the water in the bowl at about a 45 degree angle. A fairly strong stream is needed, but not too strong. The idea is to squirt strong enough to force a sphere of fluid from the bottle into the fluid of the bowl without breaking the surface tension.

Be gentle at first and you'll make blobs of water that don't break the surface tension. You'll see them sliding around on top of the liquid till they "pop" and become part of the main body of liquid. Next, push a little harder and they will start to be forced down inside the liquid to become antibubbles.

Making an AntiBubble with a Squirt Bottle

If you fail, don't give up right away; it takes a while to get it right. Most people figure out the correct angle and velocity for their particular nozzle in about 15 minutes or so. The temperature of the water is important, as is the amount of soap. The pH and the hardness of the water, and the relative humidity of the air, are also factors. If antibubbles don't seem to form, vary the soap mixture, use your other hand to hold the bottle, change rooms, or let somebody else try. Don't get frustrated or they will never form.

I believe the world record for longest lasting antibubbles is now held by Jasmine Gray. In her paper, she describes an easy effective way to make a more stable antibubble. Her research shows that science as well as skill plays a role in antibubble formation.

If you use this page as inspiration for a science project or other great things, please send me a photo and/or a description of your results. I will post them here with credit to you. You'll be famous!

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