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Electricity Gives Bubbles Super Strength

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the under-the-bubble dept.

Science 66

sciencehabit writes "Left to its own devices, a bubble will weaken and pop as the fluid sandwiched between two thin layers of soap succumbs to gravity and drains toward the floor. But when researchers trapped a bubble between two platinum electrodes and cranked up the voltage, the fluid reversed direction and actually flowed up, against the force of gravity. The newly strong and stable bubbles could live for hours, and even visibly change colors as their walls grew fatter. Because soap film is naturally only nanometers thick, this whimsical experiment could help scientists create more efficient labs-on-chips, the mazes of nanotunnels that can diagnose disease based on the movements of a miniscule drop of blood."

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Anti gravity applications? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42818355)

Some washing up liquid bottles, sticky back plastic and Sellotape, Blue Peter were way ahead of their time, they just omitted the platinum electrodes and high voltage!

Re:Anti gravity applications? (2)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818411)

I thought about antigravity as well, though your reference is lost on me. I'm currently imagining Back to the Future II cars...with bubbles on the bottom. The world will be cleansed...by bubbles. Of course that means there will be people who instead of walking will take the aerobus, so there will need to be bubble shelters where people can avoid the bubbles while waiting for it. After all, who wants to walk into work with sticky clothing, hair, etc.?

Re:Anti gravity applications? (5, Informative)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818533)

The reference is to a British children's TV program called Blue Peter [wikipedia.org] . Many decades ago, when I watched it, it would frequently feature construction projects where required materials were almost always an empty washing-up liquid bottle, sellotape and sticky-backed plastic. The last one being hard to come by in Aucherterarder; the target audience was clearly city kids.

Bubbles Real Strenght; North American Style (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818703)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD77ln7vZJU [youtube.com]

While you were washing up, we were getting dirty.

Re:Bubbles Real Strenght; North American Style (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42820115)

is there a 'Bubbles Real Strength; Gangnam Style'?

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42818849)

You were lucky! Up in the highlands we didn't get BBC. :)

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818999)

Ah, Grampian Television. Haven't been in any of the areas that was broadcast in nigh on twenty years. I know it's just part of STV now rather than remaining an independent entity.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819137)

sellotape and sticky-backed plastic

They are the same thing; Sellotape is a brand, and couldn't be named on the BBC. The third item you're missing is toilet / kitchen rolls :)

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42820189)

There's a debate about that further down the thread. But you're correct that the cardboard cores of paper rolls were also a regular feature on the required materials list.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (2)

Palamos (1379347) | about a year and a half ago | (#42821623)

Brands can be, and often are, mentioned on the BBC, as a result there were frequent references to Sellotape. Sticky-backed plastic is different from Sellotape, it's a wider plastic roll, typically about 50cm (20") wide.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42830159)

Sticky-backed plastic is different from Sellotape, it's a wider plastic roll, typically about 50cm (20") wide.

Not a chance. Blue Peter creations were all about things you'd have in the home. Nobody, not one person has as a regular item in their home a roll of 0.5m wide sticky plastic sheeting. In fact, the only time I've seen that stuff is used as carpet protection for removals companies. Sticky backed plastic was sellotape, or maybe packing tape, but definitely not that stuff.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42819357)

>Aucherterarder

I don't know that this is, but it sounds very serious. You should have a doctor check it out.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42820229)

It's either a careless typing mistake in typing the name of my home town of Auchterarder, which would not be serious in any way because I'm a very poor typist, or it's a case of being unable to correctly name the place in which I spent my first eighteen years which would be indicative of something more serious.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818531)

Someone want to translate this cryptic passage to English?

Re:Anti gravity applications? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42818575)

Someone want to translate this cryptic passage to English?

The irony is that it is in English.

What you want is a translation to American.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819333)

"Go go gadget bubble capture unit!"

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42824499)

Cornfed: "Those are English words, Duckman."

Duckman: "Well we don't LIVE in England, DO WE!"

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42822747)

Some washing up liquid bottles, sticky back plastic and Sellotape, Blue Peter were way ahead of their time, they just omitted the platinum electrodes and high voltage!

TRANSLATION:

Gee, that old 1950's TV show "Blue Peter" was way ahead of its time! All you need (for our amazing home-made DIY anti-gravity science project) are some washing up liquid bottles, adhesive plastic and Sellotape brand cellophane tape (AKA: Scotch Tape). That TV show merely omitted the platinum electrodes and high voltage!

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818695)

Wait wait wait, Are you trying to tell me that sticky back plastic and Sellotape were 2 different things? They never ever mentioned Sellotape on Blue Peter, because it is a brand name. Hence sticky back plastic.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818775)

The sticky-backed plastic they used (well, in 1970's anyway) always seemed to come in sheets. The sticky tape was clearly Sellotape. I was too young at the time to appreciate that brand names couldn't be used on BBC programmes but I did realise that the sticky-back plastic the presenter would use was not available in the town shop whereas the tape was accessible in the side-board cupboard. The empty washing-up bottles could be acquired by pestering my mother. But when the presenter would say "...and a sheet of sticky-backed plastic", I knew I was stymied.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818799)

Sticky back plastic is what you used at school to cover the outside of your books.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (4, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818833)

Posh bastard!

We used brown wrapping paper and had to like it.

Oh what I would have given for some sticky back plastic to cover our books with!

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818843)

We used old offcuts of wallpaper. Also we'd get up every morning an hour before we'd gone to bed, and lick 'road clean wi't tongue.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818881)

I remember having to use the offcuts of wallpaper too. And parents were oblivious to the strife you would be subjected to if the only bits available at the time were from your sister's room having just been decorated.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818893)

Off cuts of wall paper! Oooh we'd have killed for off. cuts. of. wall. paper.

We had to use sandpaper!

And we didn't have rucksacks so we had to keep our jotters in our underpants!

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42820209)

another alternative was brown, paper sacks. the large ones that you could get your groceries put in.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819321)

I was the kid that paid some girl in candy and stickers to cover my book. I didn't have a clue how to do it. XD

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42819961)

Posh bastard!

Oh what I would have given for some sticky back plastic to cover our books with!

Now who is posh? What we would have given for some books in the first place...

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42818943)

Except that Blue Peter seemed to have a magical supply of opaque, solid coloured sticky-backed plastic. We only ever had the clear stuff for covering books, and Fablon mostly came in patterns.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42824521)

Ah, that makes sense. I don't know what we called it in the states. We didn't use it on books, but used it to line cupboards and drawers. Brown paper bags for covering books, or sometimes other larger pieces of paper (no sticky stuff on school books as those were government property and had to be returned at the end of school year).

Sellotape over here is just cellophane tape, or Scotch Brand(tm) tape.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825083)

Lining cupboards and drawers was sometimes done with wallpaper in some of the homes I've seen. Other times it's probably a form of contact paper [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818811)

No, Sticky-back plastic was something entirely different from Sticky-tape (which is what they called Sellotape)

Sticky-back plastic was like a large sheet of plastic (normally A4 size) with one side sticky.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825355)

From the "Uses" section of Wikipedia's "Contact paper" entry [wikipedia.org] :

- Commonly used to line or cover kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers, counter tops, bookshelves, closet shelving, and pantry areas
- Covering up or protecting areas which have become (or could become) stained or ruined because of a project. Examples include art projects, foods and liquids, destructive substances
- The clear variety can be used for laminating books, art projects, posters, pictures, or other objects
- As part of a collage

It's quite probable that while the term is "contact paper" of the clear variety, it was actually the sticky-backed plastic you're all talking about. I'm not saying paper can't be transparent, but I'm suggesting the possibility that it was not, in this case, paper as the name "contact paper" suggests.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42818955)

Having items in an electric field does not reduce gravity, it only adds an additional force which pulls them in the opposite direction.

Example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil-drop_experiment

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42822179)

Anti gravity will work if you can modulate the electricity fast enough and in the proper way to lower/strengthen the effects of gravity of a sphere. At this point, you use a "top" like configuration of "balls" that spin at extremely high velocity, allowing the ring of balls to "throw" themselves in the direction of the momentum of the ball. Combine this with a vertical version that is perpendicular to the first surface and you should have your 360 degrees. Would require a stabalization though to prevent your device from spinning out of control. Question is, can you manipulate (enhance/weaken) the effects fast and hard enough to make it overcome the weight of the machine?

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42823371)

I think the parent post comes pretty close to the densest set of intro level physics fail I've ever seen. It might not look like much because it isn't using big words or more abstract concepts from relativity or quantum mechanics, but it actually requires a great deal of effort and finesse to screw up basic physics that much, unlike those advanced fields where you can always resort to word salad when you run out of ideas.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (1)

jonadab (583620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42822205)

I don't think soap bubbles would provide enough lift for meaningful anti-gravity applications. They float because they are not significantly more dense than air. Weigh them down with any kind of payload, and they're going to land on the floor.

Re:Anti gravity applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42823745)

You joke, but there actually home lab, or just home fun, constructs you can use such ideas toward. It has been known for some time that electric fields and static charge played a role in the formation of longer lived anti-bubbles [wikipedia.org] , or can influence how well bubbles form in difference conditions. I'm not trying to belittle the research though, as there is plenty of room for careful, quantitative research on such things, and there have been a couple cases of scientists picking up ideas from what started out as a simple kids' (either the young or the old kind) project.

A bit late now (0)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818611)

Pity they didn't tell him this while Jacko was still his owner. Would have helped him with those late night "visits"....

Re:A bit late now (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818779)

What is the English fascination with M.J.? I mean besides letting little boys play with "rubba, the two tone dolphin "in his pants..." It's black, it's white, yeah, yeah, yeah" http://www.wnd.com/2003/11/21956/ [wnd.com]

Re:A bit late now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42819231)

As members of one of the most sexually repressed societies in the world I suspect it was not only his willingness, but his effectiveness, in engaging such a wide variety of sexual partners. The pool likely extended beyond even the animal kingdom.

What Brit has not considered having sex with a llama? MJ would simply buy one, take it deep into his private sex lair masquerading as a petting zoo, and get it on with the thing. Same for men, women, children, various other primates, honeydew melons, etc etc. This is exactly along the lines of what most Brits will admit privately that they'd do if the won the lottery.

Re:A bit late now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42823299)

MJ never had a normal childhood, and it's alleged that as a child, his father would let record executives have their way with MJ in motel rooms. Probably very true allegations, probably the reason he was left out of MJ"s will. There are usually perfectly understandable reasons for the hows and whys some adults/celebs act out as they do. It may not excuse their actions, but it does explain them. With the right help, understanding and time, humans can overcome childhood abuses, if they want to. That's always necessary, they must want to change.

Bubbles gets superpowers on the Wire? (0)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818665)

Ha! I parsed it in my about-to-go-to-sleep mind as super powers that would be gained by Bubbles [wikipedia.org] from The Wire [wikipedia.org] on HBO. I was wondering if there was going to be a respin of the show with the informant now being given superpowers! Need more sleep...

Prior art (2)

game kid (805301) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818713)

Electrically-enhanced bubbles have been used as weapons [youtube.com] for decades.

Re:Prior art (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42820479)

I always thought the bubbles were from his butt -- I mean, if I was bubble man that'd be the simplest way I could think of to weaponize them. Makes sense, no? SBDs do about 5 bars of health damage...

The electrified bubble should also act sort of like a Faraday cage, allowing current to flow around the outside of the bubble while what's inside has much less measurable charge (restructures the charge of the exterior material to equalize the field in the interior).

Scientists! (2, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818801)

"Because soap film is naturally only nanometers thick, this whimsical experiment could help scientists create more efficient labs-on-chips, ..."

Wot? No new gadget to blow bubbles?

Think of the children!

Aerogel Application? (2)

metallurge (693631) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818913)

I wonder if this could be used to fabricate aerogels using something akin to a hot piezoelectric print head.

That's all I need (-1, Offtopic)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818949)

That's all I need

Electricity Gives Bubbles Super Strength

My favourite hooker's become a super-hero!

Re:That's all I need (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42818971)

See, I thought it was Chemical X that gave Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup their super powers.

Re:That's all I need (3, Funny)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819241)

Are you saying the Powerpuff Girls grew up and became hookers? I knew the economy was bad but that is just depressing...

Re:That's all I need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42819603)

Are you saying the Powerpuff Girls grew up and became hookers? I knew the economy was bad but that is just depressing...

I don't know about depressing... I always had a thing for Blossom; so now if she'll just take a bit of cash, my childhood fantasy can come true!

Re:That's all I need (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42820745)

Are you saying the Powerpuff Girls grew up and became hookers? I knew the economy was bad but that is just depressing...

I don't know about depressing... I always had a thing for Blossom; so now if she'll just take a bit of cash, my childhood fantasy can come true!

Are you serious? How the hell do you make it to Slashdot and not know about Rule 34?!

From the Rules of the Internet:
Rule 34: If it exists there is porn of it, no exceptions.
Rule 35: If no porn is found at the moment, it will be made.

Just add "rule 34" to any search term for the porn version. [google.com] (search results w/ safe=off, links may be NSFW). Since this is your first time here's some complimentary Star Wars Rule 34. [imgur.com] , or if you're more the mile-high club type: Why not declare Rule 34 on Jets? [photobucket.com] (both SFW, non nudes)

If you need to invoke rule 35, just proclaim rule 34 has been violated to the right folks, then wait.

Welcome to the Internet.

Of course one just needs to look at Pokemon.. (2)

Destoo (530123) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819189)

Squirtle - BubbleBeam!
Pikachu - Lightningrod!

There you go. Unbeatable bubbles!

Thin bubbles (3, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819439)

Normal soap bubbles are about 500 to 1000 nanometers thick - that's why you can see colors (iridescence) on the surface - it's from interference (diffraction) of light reflecting on the inside and outside of the bubble wall. These bubbles are, according to TOA, nanometers thick, which is very thin, at least compared to the soap bubbles we see.

Re:Thin bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42821689)

The article says the bubbles are 100-200 nm thick (Figure 3). A search online (too many sources to list) says soap bubbles are 20nm, 200nm, 130nm, 250nm, and 331 nm. So, it seems to me these are probably just normal soap bubbles.

ah.. That explains it. (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819539)

I was wondering how the $party [See below to get the value of $party] is able to defy the public opinion and try to impose its autocratic will on the population, despite electoral defeats. Looks like the bubbles they are living in is strengthened by the electricity!

if ( $myparty == "republican") then
$party="democratic"
else
$party="republican"
endif

Attack from Atlantis! (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819565)

Immediately, I thought of the science-fiction novel Attack from Atlantis [amazon.com] , as the technology sounds very much like that used to create the super-strong bubbles described in the story.

Someone forward this to the BBC (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819819)

Yes, there are no more real innovations in Science anymore. Bah. Wicked hard bubbles is the future baby!

Please define "real" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42824377)

sometimes it takes a new material or a new observation of some 'odd' behaviour, and many brains before someone works out what to do with it.

We are seeing many experements from quantum studies and we all know that making transistors and flip flops smaller = less energy for the same computing power, so the drive to control the minature world. All our gadgets require power and battery tec is not great or enviormentally sustainable. The electrocharged bubble tubes lend themselves to being able to setup mini transfers of substances without the need for physical pipes. Personally I prefered this article... http://physics.aps.org/articles/v6/12

It seems things like this (a two tier approach) could be great for both the future of the planet and the life of your mobile gadget. Could that be used to allow nanotech to be easier to create, or assist fuel cells to make cleaner batteries that are quicker to recharge, like refilling a lighter?

Another step toward GP hulls? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about a year and a half ago | (#42819903)

Electrically reinforcing molecular bonds?

Unfortunately, no. But it does look at least a bit more interesting than "electrostatic attraction draws the film upward", which was what i guessed before reading the linked articles.

cell wall. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42820517)

Every time I try to measure the thickness of the wall my ruler pops it. what am I doing wrong. Have we discovered a force field! hehe

Plasma-like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42820833)

It's not an "ionized *gas*", but sounds a bit like a plasma, as I understand them. They've ionized it, and are seeing seeing internal particle interactions as a result. Thickening might then be due to something like a double layer.

bubbles? boring. Bobbles? yes! (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42821637)

Skip this version and wait for them to start producing bobbles [caltech.edu]

For Science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42822333)

Its good to see science is creating bubbles of death!

Shields Up Mr. Worf (1)

Ryyuajnin (862754) | about a year and a half ago | (#42824003)

Perhaps electrified zero-g super bubbles could be the first navigational shields? :)

Electricity Pffft! (1)

Roachie (2180772) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825385)

You should see her on meth!!!

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