One intrepid experimenter with a good camera, a cold night and a soap-bubble-maker creates sheer joy in this gallery of frozen bubbles: "It's very cold tonight, so we played with bubbles. If you blow them upwards enough they have time to freeze on the way down."

freezebubbles (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

38 Responses to “Frozen soap bubbles”

  1. Zaren says:

    Truly classic boingboing material. Absolutely wonderful.

  2. Cowicide says:

    Great stuff and further proof that global warming is a myth because we still experience winter in some parts of the world.

  3. FoetusNail says:

    Beautiful!

  4. guy_jin says:

    the guy talks about the bubbles freezing from top to bottom because the sky is colder than the ground – it probably has more to do with the ‘windchill’ on the rising side of the bubble.

  5. eagleapex says:

    OOo pretty Thanks. Now to find some HD video of the same…

  6. monstrinho_do_biscoito says:

    do they smash like glass when they hit the ground?

  7. Cowicide says:

    @#4 POSTED BY GUY_JIN

    Agreed

  8. Bender says:

    Tremendous. Bit of a genius idea.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pure unicorn material, thanks to boingboing et al for diffusing it.

    re: top part of the bubble freezing first – probably also due to most of the water draining to the bottom part of the bubble.

    re: global warming. That’s right, keep your head in the sand – it’ll be cooler there.

  10. jaypee says:

    Gorgeous. I actually said “ooooooooooo!” out loud at my desk.

  11. Mango says:

    Wow these are really pretty! I think i’ll try this tonight, forecasts say it’ll be -8 degrees celcius, hope that’s enough.
    I wonder if this will work with giant bubbles as well, or with those clusters of little bubbles you can make with a special straw…

  12. giantnegro says:

    It’s like my favorite game come to life! Is there a penguin involved anywhere?

  13. BritSwedeGuy says:

    Now you just need to fit a unicorn in there and have the bubble reflect a steampunk camera…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Is there any existing industrial process similar to this. If not, I wonder who can come up with one first?

    Pterry Hunt

  15. Lexica says:

    The Exploratorium has (had? it’s been a while since I’ve been there) a bubble-freezing chamber for visitors to play with. Blow a bubble at the top and watch it float down, slowly freezing as it goes… Lots of fun.

  16. Doug Nelson says:

    Someone with access to a walkin freezer and a video cam could have the next youtube hit here.

  17. Ursus says:

    @ #4 and #7 (Guy_Jin and Cowicide respectively)

    I was wondering if the bubbles weren’t thinner on top, due to gravity, and froze from the top down because of that….

  18. bishophicks says:

    I’m also wondering how cold it has to be for this to work. We’ve had a couple of nights below 10F so far this winter, but both nights were windy – not good for outdoor bubble fun.

    For those making the attempt, refrigerate your bubble juice for a couple hours first. It might help the bubbles freeze faster/easier. Of course, it also might make it harder to create the bubbles in the first place. I’m not a bubble scientist.

  19. Andrew Katz says:

    @Mostrinho – they don’t smash, unfortunately. They gracefully crumple.

    I remember doing this years ago when I was a kid on holiday in the Italian Alps. It was about -20C, and huge fun.

  20. absolutetrust says:

    But what does a popping frozen bubble sound like?

  21. celynnen says:

    no, Monstrinho, they crumple like cling wrap. I lived in Fairbanks, AK for years, where it gets plenty cold enough in the winter to freeze soap bubbles. Another fun activity when it’s that cold out is to blow a thin, forceful stream of air out of your mouth and play Superman, ’cause the air is so cold that the steam doesn’t dissipate as quickly – y’know, the scene from movie II where he puts out the fire? Okay, so I’m a dork, it’s still fun!

  22. zizzybaloobah says:

    Any idea what’s the required temperature range for this to work? I’d love to try it myself sometime.

  23. HPHovercraft says:

    The pictures: lovely.

    The site’s interface: maddening.

  24. Cowicide says:

    @#15 POSTED BY URSUS , JANUARY 5, 2009 7:43 AM

    agreed. fuck it, it’s bubbles. i’ll agree to any theory about these things as long as they look neat.

  25. holtt says:

    Truly a wonderful thing. Thanks Cory!

  26. yezzer says:

    #15: same here! There’s a cold snap in the UK right now, and i’d love to try this tonight if I can..

  27. mork the delayer says:

    Frozen Bubble is a great game.

    http://www.frozen-bubble.org/

    Apparently there’s a browser-playable java port:
    http://glenn.sanson.free.fr/v2/?select=fb:play

  28. Takuan says:

    must try with molten aluminum.

  29. thekevinmonster says:

    Ice is less dense than liquid water, so ice floats. Perhaps the ice floats to the top of the bubble? I’m just taking a guess.

  30. The Lizardman says:

    Could we get some shots of the crumbling bubbles as well? Sounds beautiful but it isn’t cold enough in Austin to try it myself

  31. manicbassman says:

    #4, #7: #12 is correct… gravity… bubbles are thinner on top, so they freeze from the top down…

  32. igpajo says:

    Ok, now I can’t wait for it to get cold again. Those pictures are beautiful!!

  33. shMerker says:

    I’ve done this before. It really is neat to watch. If the bubbles make it to the ground they begin to crumble under their own weight. If they remain in the air long enough they just sort of dissolve, vanishing into the air. If you touch one it does look a lot like glass breaking. All of this is silent, just like when soap bubbles normally pop. I think it has to do with the bubbles having very little mass and low air pressure, so you don’t hear them either shatter or pop like you might expect. It helps if it’s pretty freaking cold. I wonder if anyone’s ever successfully thawed a frozen bubble.

  34. Tom Hale says:

    OK, we’ve got to get Discovery Channel’s Time Warp to video some of these when they crash into an object.

  35. Uncle_Max says:

    That is amazing. The next time it gets cold here (well, colder, 35 degrees won’t cut it), I’m definitely trying this.

  36. Anonymous says:

    people used to think i was nutz when i told them about blowing bubbles in ultra cold weather — so once i showed them. thanks for this post!

  37. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if you could make these successfully with inhaled helium?

  38. Anonymous says:

    Absolute sheer unrestrained awesomeness. I have to try this next time I am somewhere cold.

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