Scientists Pop Bubble Mystery

Ring of daughter bubbles form under some conditions
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2010 5:33 AM CDT
Bubbles over a liquid surface   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Scientists "playing around in the lab late one night" have burst another scientific mystery: the behavior of popping bubbles. The physicists noticed that when bubbles burst on a liquid surface, they sometimes form a perfect ring of "daughter" bubbles rather than vanish entirely. Each of the daughters then bursts to form an even tinier ring, until the bubbles are so tiny they combine into strong jets that propel aerosol droplets into the atmosphere, BBC reports.

The scientists said the physics of bubble behavior have many practical implications: Glass manufacturers could learn how to reduce the formation of daughter bubbles in the glassmaking process; figuring out how to prevent daughter bubbles could also fight the transmission of diseases in swimming pools and hot tubs, which are passed on by the aerosol droplets that daughter bubbles eventually form.

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