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Breakthroughs in bubble-making for kids and their pets

With a little help from modern chemistry, you can avoid bursting your kid’s bubble … at least for a while, if you’re careful. By adding a strengthening polymer to its bubble solution, a Canadian company has developed soap bubbles that resist popping, according to an article in the April 28 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. C&EN is a weekly news magazine published by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.From the Chemical & Engineering News:Breakthroughs in bubble-making for kids and their pets reported by Chemical & Engineering News

With a little help from modern chemistry, you can avoid bursting your kid’s bubble … at least for a while, if you’re careful.

By adding a strengthening polymer to its bubble solution, a Canadian company has developed soap bubbles that resist popping, according to an article in the April 28 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. C&EN is a weekly news magazine published by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

For centuries children, and even adults, have used a basic mixture of soap and water to create a variety of bubbles, but the lifespan for these ethereal objects is usually measured in seconds. Now, C&EN reports, Toronto-based Spin Master Toys offers bubbles that can last as long as 10 days, under the right conditions.

Called “Catch-A-Bubble,” the product is based on a new solution by Taiwanese inventor Jackie Lin. The polymer that’s added to the mix helps the bubbles resist evaporation, which is the key to their staying power … provided you catch them carefully with dry hands, according to the magazine.

So what is a soap bubble and how is it created? Besides being a wonderful way to keep the kids entertained, it’s also a classic example of chemistry in action.

According to C&EN, a soap bubble is a spherical layer of soap film encapsulating air or gas. The film consists of a thin sheet of water sandwiched between two layers of soap molecules. One end of each molecule is attracted to water. The other end avoids water. The ends of the soap molecules crowd to the surface, trying to avoid the water and they stick out away from the water molecules. As a result, water molecules separate from each other, the increased distance between water molecules causes a decrease in surface tension and bubbles form.

Besides chemistry, bubbles also offer a little lesson in history.

Among early documented examples of bubble blowing are 18th century paintings by artists Jean Simeon Chardin and Charles Valoo, which depict scenes of children playing with soap bubbles.

Until the early 1900s, the main way to blow a bubble was to use a clay pipe. In the early 1940s Chemtoys ? which was later acquired by Tootsietoys, the maker of Mr. Bubbles ? introduced the popular wand-in-a-cap bubble toy. Now there are countless bubble makers for kids, including large rings, bubble machines and bubble lawnmowers. And that’s not all.

Today, even family pets have their own bubble-makers. Happy Dog Toys, of Tempe, Ariz., has created Bubble Buddy for dogs and Bubble Kitty for cats. Both toys produce scented bubbles for pets ? catnip for cats, and bacon, peanut butter, or barbecued chicken for dogs.




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