Chilly Soap Films

Close-up of a soap bubble.

Evaporation is a well-known effect in soap films and bubbles. It’s responsible for the ever-changing thickness reflected in the film’s many colors. But evaporation does more than change the bubble’s thickness: it affects its temperature, too. Just as sweat evaporating off our skin cools us, the soap film’s evaporation makes it cooler than the surrounding air.

Researchers found that their soap films could be as much as 8 degrees Celsius cooler than the surrounding air! They also found that the film’s glycerol content affect how much cooler the soap film is; films with more glycerol had higher temperatures, which could impact their overall stability. (Image credit: E. Škof; research credit: F. Boulogne et al.; via APS Physics)

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