Frozen Bubbles!

2011-01-24 18:42:08.000 – Rebecca Scholand,  Summit Intern

Blowing soap bubbles and watching them freeze.

Last night I experienced my personal lowest temperature of -34 degrees Fahrenheit. Since it was the first time I had experienced such temperatures I wanted to venture outside and throw boiling water and watch it turn to snow. I will admit I did have lots of fun. After about 30 minutes I had had my fill of throwing cups of water and watching a white cloud of snow form. Ryan and I decided to see if we could freeze soap bubbles. Boy were we in for a treat!

Ryan and I raced to the kitchen and made a mountain top bubble mixture (recipe below) with dish soap, sugar and water. The dish soap and water create the bubble but the dissolved sugar in the bubble solution acts as a catalyst for the crystals to form as it freezes. We first went out to the air lock by the front door to try it out and it worked well. The temperature was about 20 below. The bubbles were freezing slowly and allowed us to actually see the crystals forming on the surface. Brian was able to get some incredible video of this happening.

After a bit in the air lock we decided to try it out in some colder temperatures. We went to the air lock at the entrance of the generator building. Here the temperature was about 25 below and the bubbles frozemuch faster. Although we could not see the crystals forming as we had at the entrance to the building they floated around the room for much longer just lingering. Mike was able to catch one of the bubbles on his glove. Sometimes after they fell to the ground they rolled around with the drafts from the door. When they popped in the air the shell of the bubble shattered.

The longer we were outside the bubble mixture itself started to freeze up a bit and when I would pull the wand out of the bubble mixture ice crystals would start to form on the film of the wand. It was really cool to see how the ice crystals would form from a point and propagate outward. It was fascinating to see. Brian, Mike, Ryan and I must have spent close to an hour freezing bubbles and taking video of them. Needless to say it was a great end to a day on the summit for the whole crew. To see the footage we took of the bubbles with our high definition camera check out our YouTube page.

Mountain Top Bubble Mixture:
3 Teaspoons dish soap
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1-2 Teaspoons of hot water
Mix gently so as not to make bubbles in the solution


Rebecca Scholand,  Summit Intern

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