In the history of bubble blowing, these scientists have left their names behind.


A soap bubble exists only a few seconds from blowing out to bursting. But throughout history, countless scholars have indulged in this fleeting fascination in an attempt to answer the myths surrounding bubbles.

Surface tension and long-lived bubbles

British experimental physicistBoise, devised a soap bubble experiment that had perhaps the widest audience.

During the Christmas season of 1889, he gave several public lectures to demonstrate the soap bubble experiment to young people. One of these experiments was this: by placing a ring in soapy water and making a copy, a film of soap was formed; if a ring was tied in the A single wire (and one of the segments is double) will form three membranes, and by poking the membrane in the double wire, the area of the double wire wrap is naturally They form a circle.

There is a profound mathematical and physical lesson in two threads being pulled into a circle, "Soap Bubbles and the Forces That Form Them".

This experiment visually demonstrates theThe process by which surface tension minimizes the surface area of a liquid, which is why airborne soap bubbles are spherical.

But surface tension is much more than that for a soap bubble - it isSoap bubbles to the rescue.. When the liquid film of a soap bubble is disturbed and thinned locally, the surface tension in this area becomes greater and exerts a greater pull on the surrounding liquid. . As a result, the fluid is naturally pulled towards the thinning point, completing the self-healing process. This phenomenon is calledMaragoni effect(Marangoni Effect).

Seems like a fragile soap bubble, every moment of every day desperately tinkering with itself, think about a little sad... pixabay

A pioneer in cryogenic gas researchJames order to inventDewar bottles to preserve liquid airworld famous. For the last 20 years of his life, he immersed himself in the study of the surface tension of soap bubbles.

He set an astonishing record. By carefully preserving the bubbles in special bottles to reduce their contact with airborne impurities, DewarKeeping a bubble for three years..

I'm sure that the bubbles in the bottle are also feeling the power of the Maragone effect.

There are Newtons everywhere.

But the most fascinating thing about soap bubbles is the shifting colors.

Why the bubbles are colored in the sun.? The answer to this question comes from Newton.

Newton lived a glorious life, blossoming across the board in mathematics, mechanics, optics, and astronomy. And among his optical achievements was one called"Newton rings,"The results of the research can explain why bubbles are colorful.

The soap film itself is colorless.Sunlight reflects and interferes with the upper and lower surfaces of the soap film.. Sunlight is made up of different wavelengths of visible light. At one point in the membrane, the red light from exactly two reflected rays cancels each other out, giving it a blue-green color; at another point, the red light may be replaced by a blue-green color. reinforcement. Again, the thickness of the soap film is not uniform and changes all the time with the disturbance of air currents and gravity. As a result, the entire soap bubble takes on an ever-changing iridescence. This phenomenon occurs on the surface of oil films floating on the water, lenses or pearls.

The Newton's ring phenomenon that occurs on lenses wiki

The question of the old lord

Of course, Newton did not discover the Newtonian rings by blowing bubbles. However, a number of scholars have discovered new horizons in soap bubble blowing.

The founder of thermodynamics, British physicistKelvin (name)Lord, was one of them.

Kelvin once said, "If you blow a soap bubble and make observations, you can study it for a lifetime and derive law after law of physics from it." In 1887, Kelvin's niece made a special trip to the country to visit the old Sir. Opening the door, the picture before her was of the great scholar happily blowing bubbles.

Lord Kelvin, who was addicted to soap bubbles, had asked the question: if space were divided into many parts to ensure a minimum contact area, what shape should these parts be?

This question was later called "Kelvin question".

In the two-dimensional plane, the Kelvin problem has been answered by bees. The hexagonal structure of the hive is the most efficient way to build up on the plane. Of course, the bees have no mathematical foundation, they build their nests this way just to save beeswax - such is the wisdom of nature!

As to the Kelvin question in three dimensions, the old Lord himself gave the answer as followsoctahedron, which consists of eight regular hexagons and six squares.

According to Kelvin.This structure is the most efficient way to fill space. This answer was clearly inspired by soap bubbles.

The truncated octahedron (consisting of 6 squares and 8 regular hexagons) and its spatial arrangement wiki

Although Kelvin gave no rigorous proof of his claim, for the next 100 years or so, most people believed that the questioner's answer was the optimal solution to the problem.

Beyond Kelvin - Will Flann Bubbles.

Until 1993, when the Kelvin bubble burst.

Irish physicistDennis Weir.surname HeRobert Fran.A new design is proposed that goes beyond the kelvin structure.

This is called "Will Flambeau."The structure contains both 12-sided and 14-sided units. Filling the space with Will Ferran bubbles allows the0.3% material savings over Kelvin's method.

Will Ferran Bubble Structure wiki

It's worth noting that Will Ferran bubbles are exactly whatInspiration for the design of the Beijing Olympic Aquatics Center (Water Cube)The By using this model, the amount of steel required for the Water Cube was significantly reduced, with only 6,700 tons used for the entire main body of the building. The steel structure was built (how much was saved compared to normal?) .

The Water Cube draws on Will Ferran's bubble model wiki

However, we can't say for sure whether the Will Flan bubble is the final solution to the Kelvin Problem, and we can only hope that the bubble-blowing scientists have more gas.

Prato also has a problem.

Like Kelvin, the Belgian physicistPratoAlso a master of the addiction to blowing soap bubbles, he evenWrote a 450-page monograph on bubbles.Statique expérimentale et théorique des Liquides soumis aux seules Forces moléculaires (Statique expérimentale et théorique des Liquides soumis aux seules Forces moléculaires, 1873).

Prato also discovered a problem in bubble blowing: how to find the minimum surface mathematically in the case of a given boundary curve. This problem was also named "The question of Prato".

In order to answer this problem, many advanced theories of geometry are involved. But in life, if you take a wire bent into a border and dip it in soapy water, the bubbles you blow are the solution to Plateau's problem.

Addicted to the study of bubbles, Joseph Plateau New Scientist

Of course, scientists will not be satisfied with that, they crave rigorous proofs from mathematics, and have even taken the Prato problemDevelopment into high-dimensional spaceThe search for "minimal surfaces" has attracted a number of brilliant minds. This search for "minimal surfaces" has attracted a number of brilliant minds.

In 2019, the Abel Prize, known as the Nobel Prize in mathematics, was awarded to the American mathematicianKaren Ullenbeck.. Incidentally, this is the first time a female mathematician has received the award.

As one of the founders of modern geometric analysis, Ullenbeck's most famous work wasStudy of very small surfacesWho knows, maybe she's blowing bubbles in private. Who knows, maybe she's blowing bubbles in private too.

The first female winner of the Abel Prize, Ullenbeck

The study of soap bubbles never stops for scientists.

Scientific questions that extend from bubblesNot limited to math and physics. Biofilms similar to soap membranes, foam structures in materials science, inflatable film structures in engineering science...all are worthy of Subjects that you have devoted your life to studying.

The scientific conundrums that researchers ponder day and night are equally worth chasing and appreciating as the colorful blasts of a child on a summer afternoon.

The story of soap bubble research continues. The bubble blowers have always been there.

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Author: It's Snowing Round Squares

Edited by Round the Square Malted Poplar

Typesetting: Lei Ying

Title image courtesy of pixabay


[1] Vuji Ke. Starting from blowing soap bubbles[J]. Mechanics and Practice,2005(06):86-88.

[2]https:/www.nature.comarticlesd41586-019- 00932-1

[3] Ouyang Zhongcan, Liu Yixing. From soap bubbles to liquid crystal biofilms [M]. Changsha: Hunan Education Press, 1994.

[4] by Lewis; translated by Dan Hao-sheng et al. Soap bubbles and the forces that form them [M]. Beijing: Science Press, 1974.

[5] https:/zapatopi.netkelvinpaperson_the_ division_of_space.html

[6]Weaire D , Phelan R . A Counterexample to Kelvin's Conjecture on Minimal Surfaces[J]. Philosophical Magazine Letters, 1994, 69(2) :107-110.

[7] https:/mathworld.wolfram. comPlateausProblem.html

[8] https:/www.nasa.govmission_ pagesstationresearchnewsmarangoni.html

[9] https:/ aujwlightNewton's-rings.html

[10]http:/news.sciencenet. cnhtmlpaper20099895978697247.shtm

[11] https:/

Author of this article It's snowing. Round squares., first published at I'm a Scientist iScientist, welcome to the site.

Edited by Dannis.

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