Saturday, February 25, 2006

[find] Zubbles

I can't wait until I can buy some Zubbles. And thanks to Todd who sent me their truly inspiring story

"It turns out that coloring a bubble is an exceptionally difficult bit of chemistry. A bubble wall is mostly water held in place by two layers of surfactant molecules, spaced just millionths of an inch apart. If you add, say, food coloring to the bubble solution, the heavy dye molecules float freely in the water, bonding to neither the water nor the surfactants, and cascade almost immediately down the sides. You'll have a clear bubble with a dot of color at the bottom. What you need is a dye that attaches to the surfactant molecules and disperses evenly in that water layer ...."

"... Sabnis' solution was to build a dye molecule from an unstable base structure called a lactone ring that functions much like a box. When the ring is open, the molecule absorbs all visible light save for one color—the color of the bubble. But add air, water or pressure, and the box closes, changing the molecule's structure so that it lets visible light pass straight through. Sabnis builds each hue by adding different chemical groups onto this base."

Brilliantly colored soap bubbles, and the start of whole new temporary coloring technology. Fabulous.