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The physics behind building an enduring soap bubble

Physics models and real-world experiments help keep bubbles from popping.

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Enlarge (credit: Mark Mawson)

Blowing soap bubbles, besides being a favorite pastime for children, also happens to be an art form and a subject of interest for physicists. Emmanuelle Rio, François Boulogne, Marina Pasquet, and Frédéric Restagno from the Laboratory of Solid State Physics at the University of Paris-Saclay have been studying bubbles for years, trying to understand the different processes at play in these innocuous-looking structures.

“Bubbles are important as they appear in many places, including washing products, cosmetics, building materials, and also in nature. For example, sea foam plays a role in terms of the exchanges between the atmosphere and the sea,” Boulogne said.

Now, the team has described a key event in the life of bubbles: when they pop.

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