How we did it:
- water (4 parts)
- dish soap (1 part)
- corn syrup (2 parts)
- food coloring - optional
Fill a bowl with water.
Tip: Add a few drops of food coloring to see the water better!
Mix in the dish soap.
Mix in the corn syrup.
Now you are ready to experiment with your unpoppable bubbles! Dip the tip of the pencil into the mixture. Then, dip one end of the straw into the mixture and blow into the other end to make a bubble. Try to pop it with the pencil. Does it pop? What happens if you don’t dip the tip of the pencil into the mixture? Try the same thing with your hands!
Tip: To blow really awesome bubbles, use a wide straw (like a boba or bubble tea straw)!
What's going on?
Bubbles are made of two basic things: a 'skin' that is mostly composed of a thin film of water, and some air. Adding soap and corn syrup to water helps make stronger bubbles, because soap and corn syrup molecules can squeeze in between water molecules and help the film of water stretch out without breaking. (That's why bubbles made purely of water pop so quickly — their watery skins aren't very stretchy).
When a dry pencil touches a bubble, the water in the bubble's skin sticks to the dry pencil, breaking the skin and causing the bubble to snap back, like a rubber band that has been stretched too far. If a pencil is coated in soapy water, however, the skin of the bubble will merge with that soapy coating and remain intact.
This trick will work with anything that can provide a bridge for the bubble's stretched-out skin when an object is stuck inside of it. Try dipping a coin or a paperclip into some soapy water, and see what happens when you drop it through a bubble!