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Geometric bubble films - make a cube shaped bubble!

You will need:

 
  • 4x Pipecleaners
  • Strong Bubble mix
  • Deep bucket
  • Somewhere you can get wet!

    Cube shaped bubble materials

    Cube shaped bubble materials

    Copyright
Cube shaped bubble in a pipe cleaner frame
Cube shaped bubble in a pipe cleaner frame

Instructions
 

  1. Pour the bubble mix down the sides of the bucket to avoid making small bubbles.
     
  2. Connect pipe cleaners together to form a cube ... i.e. 6 sides. 

    a) First fold one of the pipe cleaners into a square.

    Pipecleaner folded into a square for making cube shaped bubbles
    Pipe cleaner folded into a square for making cube shaped bubbles

    b) Now fold another of the pipe cleaners into another square and chop one of the other pipe cleaners into 3 parts. Leave one pipe cleaner untouched at this point.

    Pipecleaners ready to form a cube to make a cube shaped bubble
    Pipe cleaners ready to form a cube to make a cube shaped bubble 

    c) Wind each of the short pipe cleaner pieces onto the corners of the 2 squares made.

    Tied pipcecleaner for cube shape bubble experiment
    Tied pipe cleaner for cube shape bubble experiment

    Pipe cleaner cube nearly finished
    Pipe cleaner cube nearly finished

    d) Finish off the cube with the final pipe cleaner and leave a small amount hanging off the cube to act as a handle. You can straighten up the frame later.

    Finished pipe cleaner bubble cube maker
    Finished pipe cleaner bubble cube maker
     
  3. Dip the cube into the bubble mix and carefully withdraw it a couple of times. Can you make a cube-shaped bubble form on the inside of the pipe cleaner frame? 

    Cube shaped bubble in a pipe cleaner frame
    Cube shaped bubble in a pipe cleaner frame! 
     
  4. Try making tetrahedron (4 sides), a octahedron (8 sides), and a dodecahedron (12 sides)!

    bubble geometry
    Different frames for making different shaped bubbles 
     
  5. Does the bubble shape match the shape of each frame... why?

    Back to mathematics experiments 

Why Does This Happen?

 
Bubble films are stretchy... scientists call this 'stretch' surface tension. As bubbles are stretchy, they always try to shrink into a sphere shape, minimising surface area.

Dipping the frame into the bubble mix traps air inside the frame. The bubble inside the frame tries to form a sphere but the bubble films connecting to the frames pull on the bubble on the inside. This creates a bubble with the same shape as the frame.
 
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