Research

Inside a Popping Bubble

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Popping a soap bubble is more complicated than what the eye can see. In high-speed video, we find that the action is very directional, with the soap bubble film pulling away from the point of rupture. As it does so, waves, like those in a flapping flag, appear along the surface and strings of fluid form along the edge of the film before breaking into droplets. This video takes matters a step further, looking at what happens to air inside a bubble when it pops. Those subtle waves and strings of fluid we see in the high-speed rupture have a distinctive effect on air inside the bubble. As the film pulls away, it leaves behind a rippled, wavy surface rather than a smooth sphere of foggy air. (Video credit: Z. Pan et al.)

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