The unexpected beauty of how bubbles freeze


Play icon

The unexpected beauty of how bubbles freeze

00:01:22

  Last updated September 20, 2019 at 10:09 am

Topics:  

Under the right conditions, soap bubbles freeze in a way that turns them, temporarily, into tiny, beautiful snow-domes.




Why This Matters: If we can work out how to freeze soap bubbles, what else could we freeze?




It turns out that under the right conditions, soap bubbles freeze into beautiful little snow domes.


This revelation was discovered by researchers led by biomechanical engineer Jonathan Boreyko from Virginia Tech in the US as they probed the physics of freezing.




Also: Bubbles! The physics of champagne




What the scientists found was that the way soap bubbles froze was determined by the temperature of the air surrounding them.


When bubbles resting on a cold substrate were surrounded by equally cold air, they started to freeze from the bottom. However during the early stage of this process, ice crystals formed, detached from the freeze-front and floated around in the remaining liquid, evoking a snow-dome.


After a while the number of crystals reached a point at which they were in contact with each other. At that point they locked together, forming a matrix, resulting in the entire bubble solidifying.




Teach This: Soap bubbles form natural snow domes




In cases where the surrounding air was warmer than the cold surface on which the bubble rested, the freezing process was different and the results much less pretty. Again, freezing started from the bottom and continued upwards until convection forces became too weak, leading to a halt about halfway up.


But this time there was no snow-dome. Instead, the half-frozen bubbles remained for a few moments, before collapsing.


Read the original article on Cosmos. 


More Like This


Scientists turn carbon dioxide into coal at room temperature


Physics explains the mysteries of Guinness



Published By

Science and technology is as much a part of our cultural fabric as art, music, theatre and literature. They play a significant role in our daily lives, yet, in a world dependent on science, we often take them for granted. Australia’s Science Channel believes every citizen has a right, and a responsibility, to be informed, and our mission is to create programs to bring that about.