Antibubble Notes From Timothy Wismer

Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 15:52:09 -0500
From: Timothy Wismer <>
To: Chris Nadovich <>

My father went to your website, and saw the page on anti-bubbles. He told me about it, and I decided to use anti-bubbles for my science fair project. My question was "Do anti-bubbles really exist?" No offense, but I wasn't sure that you weren't pulling the wool over our eyes. Today, I tried to make anti-bubbles and succeeded.

Your web page on anti-bubbles suggested using a "stream" of liquid. I found it more effective to squirt a single drop at a time. I was, in fact, unable to produce any anti-bubbles using a stream of liquid. Also, your web page suggested holding a bottle at a 45 degree angle. I found it far more effective to hold it straight up and down. Perhaps holding it at a 45 degree angle works best using a stream of liquid. A third thing I had trouble with was colored anti-bubbles. I tried to make colored anti-bubbles using food coloring, but made only a few. However, I believe that I was unable to make many colored anti-bubbles because the surface tension had weakened. When I try again tomorrow, I will perhaps discover if that is true.

Here is the procedure I found most effective for making anti-bubbles:

First, I filled a medium sized, clear, plastic vessel with water and a squirt of soap. Then, I filled a medicine dropper from the vessel. Holding the dropper vertically about 1-1.5cm above the surface of the water, I squeezed out a small drop. Because of the soap, the surface tension of the water was so strong that it acted rather like a trampoline-- the drop hit the surface, bounced off an immeasurably small distance, and struck the water again. The drop would then float on the surface of the water for varying amounts of time before popping. After making these floating drops, I would squeeze slightly harder, and was often able to produce an anti-bubble.

I used both a medicine dropper and a plastic bottle with a pop-up top. Of these I found the medicine dropper more effective. I was unable to test a mustard bottle, because the one I purchased leaked.

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 11:11:58 -0500

I've found a difference between my anti-bubble making results and those on your web page. Your web page said that the anti-bubbles you made popped as soon as they reached the surface. The anti-bubbles I made nearly always "hung" under the surface of the water for varying amount of time before popping. My theory is that the soap increased the surface tension of the water enough to make it impenetrable for the anti-bubbles. Should that be the case, the difference in our results could be explained if I were using more soap than you.

I also have interesting news. Yesterday (Thursday, February 11th), I succeeded in making a few anti-bubbles with a stream of liquid, holding my eye-dropper at approximately as 45 degree angle. It was difficult, but very interesting. I noted that the bubbles made by this method were bigger.

Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 12:00:55 -0500

First, make several small drops on the surface of the water, in close proximity (refer to my original letter). Then allow those drops to combine, and, before they can burst, squirt another drop at it. If you squirt at the proper angle and with the right amount of strength, the two drops will combine and submerge.

Today, I tested my theory by making anti-bubbles in plain water. They still hung under the surface. Since you used soap, your water would have had a stronger surface tension than the plain water I used. Therefore, if the only difference in our experiments was the amount of soap, your bubbles should've "hung" as well. Therefore, some other factor must have caused the difference.

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 14:02:01 -0500

I found recently that, if you are using the proper amount of soap, and squeeze with the appropriate amount of strength, you can make one large drop, rather than several small ones. After making such a drop, squeeze slightly harder and you should be able to make an anti-bubble.

I have tried to make anti-bubbles in several types of solutions-- soapy water in both the dropper and vessel, soapy water in the dropper and plain in the vessel, plain in the dropper and soapy in the vessel, and plain in both (which didn't work). Just today, I tried, and succeeded in, making anti-bubbles in flat ginger ale.

Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 14:04:57 -0500

I have concluded that there is not a constant air/water ratio in anti-bubbles. Rather, I believe that as the size of an anti-bubble goes up, so does the amount of water in comparison to the amount of air. This would probably define some sort of upper limit for the size of an anti-bubble, at which point there would be too much water to be contained by the much smaller amount of air. This would also explain why large anti-bubbles are more fragile than small ones. More water means more surface area to be covered by air. But if the amount of water is out of proportion to the amount of air, then as the anti-bubble got bigger, the skin around it would get thinner, and therefore weaker.

Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 09:52:54 -0500

I recently picked up some film, which I had put on Kodak disk. I selected some of my favorite anti-bubble pictures, which I will send to you.

This photo is "making an anti-bubble." Though an anti-bubble is present, at the top you can see the bottom portion of a "floating drop," the first step in my anti-bubble making procedure.

Making an Antibubble

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