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Name: Connie
Status: student
Age: 13
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001


Question:
Does the temperature of water affect how long bubbles will last? that is my science project i would like to know the answer and why. i would also like to know if heat and expansion or cold and contraction have anything to do with the results. thanks.


Replies:
Here's how science projects work: you pose a question (you've posed a very good one), and you devise a method of discovering the answer (your method is flawed, in part because it only works if somebody already knows the answer). There are other flaws in your method of discovering the answer:

1) it's no fun

2) at best, all it gets you is the answer. I'm a science-fair judge, and I'll tell you a secret about science fair judges: we don't care all that much if a kid gets the right answer; we REALLY care if the method of discovering the answer is well considered by the kid, and well executed by the kid -- even if it's completely wrong for some technical reason a kid would be unlikely to consider or understand.

Here's the approach I would take: Why do bubbles ever pop? Why should they not last forever? Do different ones last for different lengths of time? Are bubbles uniform in structure and constant from birth to violent death, or does their structure evolve in time? Where does the water that makes up the skin of a bubble go? What would you do if you were a water molecule at the surface of a bubble? Does your answer depend on whether you're on the inside surface or the outside surface? What do water molecules at other water surfaces (e.g., lakes, bathtubs, raindrops) do? If you can identify any pop causes, do any of them seem likely to be temperature dependent? Can you think of a test that would check this?

Tim


Connie

Other things equal, the higher the temperature, the shorter is the life of the bubble. The reason for this is that the rate of evaporation of water [in the bubble's skin] increases dramatically with increasing temperature. This makes the thickness of the film smaller and also changes the relative concentration of the components of the bubble solution.

Search the Web for "bubbles". There is a wealth of info there. There are also several elementary books you can order from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Vince Calder


I would suggest doing the experiment to find your answer. put bubbles in hot water and some in cold water and record your results. Make sure you use the same amount of water, and the same amount of liquid soap (or bubbles) in your experiment. Good luck.

Katie Page



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