Watch an iridescent "kiss" between magnetized soap bubbles

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Scientists at the University of Delaware added magnetic nanoparticles to soap bubbles to be able to manipulate their thickness, their color, and their motion. Take a look at the rainbow effect they created above, and check out a short black and white film of a bubble kissing a magnet while tiny liquid particles whirl inside it.

Finally someone has combined magnets and soap bubbles to make the ultimate children's toy. Sadly, only scientists get to play with it. Over at the University of Delaware they mixed together the typical bubble stuff; water, dish soap, and glycerin to prevent evaporation. They then grabbed some metal nanonparticles to mix in with the bubble solution. Usually, the films of soap bubbles drain downwards. By waving a magnet around, they managed to make the bubble solution 'drain' upwards towards the magnet. The ideal use for this would be self-repairing films. A nice side effect, since the thickness of the solution determines the color given off by the bubble, is a rainbow they could manipulate.


Of course, all this iridescence and magnetism had some effect on the experiment itself. Check out a film about a bubble in love with its nearest magnet. It starts out creeping closer, its little insides churning as solution molecules are picked up and whirled around inside it. Then it steals a kiss or two, and finally it plasters itself against the magnet.


Top Image: MEC Lab

Via The American Physical Society.