One of the fascinating experiences as a child was the making and blowing of soap bubbles.
These soap bubble solutions are usually accompanied by small plastic wands, a bubble pipe, or sometimes by more complicated type of bubble generating apparatus, often found in toy stores or similar places.
The bubble solutions commonly available from the store are dilute soap or detergent solutions that are good for making small bubbles, but not particularly effective for producing strong soap films or large bubbles. Often expensive and easily spilt by the user; a bubble solution can be made relatively inexpensively at home.
There are a number of recipes for preparing soap solutions. A simple solution for making soap bubbles or films can easily be prepared by mixing a soap such as LUX Flakes® or by using the dishwashing detergent in some, preferably distilled or deionized, water.
A general purpose solution using a liquid dish washing detergent bubble making solution is:
- 5% liquid dish washing detergent , by volume.
- 92% water (distilled or deionized)
- 3% glycerine
It was found that when the detergent concentration exceeds 12% (by volume) the bubbles do not last any longer and additionally proportionally higher levels of glycerine, won’t make any longer lasting bubbles. The glycerine is used to ‘strengthen’ the soap film. Sugar can also be added but more effective is sorbitol which is a similar chemical to glycerine. If you intend to store the bubble solution for a long period of time, generally, it is better to use glycerine or sorbitol as solutions containing sugar may become mouldy.
For those who are more experimentally minded and keen to improve the formulations we offer a number of ingredients that are able to be used to make these bubble solutions.
Here at HobbyChemicals.com.au we supply the active ingredients such as the Castile Liquid Soap which is the main active in soap (in a liquid form) as well as a number of other detergent actives such as Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate (70%), Coco-betaine and APGs (alkyl poly glycosides) .
Foam boosters such as Coconut diethanol amide and amine oxides are also available. Additionally specialised gums are available such as Xanthan Gum as well as GuarGum which enhance the bubble strength
here is a link to a video giant bubble
For more background information there are some interesting articles out there on the internet one of these being the CHEMISTRY IN THE TOY STORE by David A. Katz.