Can you blow bubbles in space?

Can you blow bubbles in space? Bubbles are pretty lovely, aren’t they? You may blow bubbles with a unique small wand and watch them float about in the air until… POP … they’re gone! What’s going on?

When you blow a bubble, you are forcing air onto the bubble’s soapy surface. The pushing of air in scientific terminology is known as ‘pressure.’ Near the surface of the Earth, there are a lot of air molecules pressing on each other. As a result, there is a lot of pressure at the surface. As you travel higher in the atmosphere, there are fewer and fewer air molecules. Hence the pressure goes lower.

When you blow a bubble, you are putting a great level of pressure into the bubble. The bubble is being pushed on the inside by air from your breath but is also being pushed on the outside by air in the environment. When the bubble exits the wand, the air within the bubble has the same pressure as the air outside the bubble.

The bubble may float for a time since the air outside the bubble wants to remain the same as the air within. The bubble will eventually burst, however. If the bubble floats too high in the atmosphere, the pressure within the bubble will become too tremendous, and the bubble will burst in a huge POP. If the bubble drops too near to the Earth. The pressure within the bubble gets lower than the pressure outside, and the bubble will burst. We still hear it as a POP.

In space, there is no pressure. There are no air molecules in space to propel anything. So if you attempt to blow a bubble in space, nothing will happen. The air molecules within the bubble have nothing to push against; thus, the bubble will break before it begins to develop. The bubble can only exist when there is equal pressure inside and out.

Bubbles and Fluids in Space

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Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko conducts a sample exchange for the OASIS investigation. OASIS studies the unique behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity, including their overall motion and the merging of crystal layers known as smectic islands. (Image Credit:: NASA)

Watching a bubble float smoothly across the International Space Station may be exciting and lovely to watch. Still, the same bubble also tells researchers how fluids behave differently in microgravity than they do on Earth. The near-weightless circumstances onboard the station enable researchers to study and manage a broad range of fluids in ways that are not conceivable on Earth, principally owing to surface tension dynamics and the absence of buoyancy and sedimentation within fluids in the low-gravity environment. Improved fuel tanks, water systems, and other fluid-based systems in space and on Earth may be possible to better understand how fluids respond under extreme circumstances.

Many research onboard the orbiting laboratory concentrate on fluid physics, such as the mobility of liquids or the production of bubbles. Bubbles may sometimes be a nice feature, but they can also indicate that something has gone wrong and must be fixed, much like on Earth. Technology, studies and even actions as basic as drinking water must take bubbles into mind to be designed to be helpful in a microgravity environment.

Take a look at these various studies that make use of bubbles and fluid physics.

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NASA astronaut Kate Rubins sets up the Eli Lilly – Hard to Wet Surfaces Sample Module by injecting buffer solutions into the sample vials then mixing all six sample vials inside the Sample Module. This investigation studies how certain materials used in the pharmaceutical industry dissolve in water while in microgravity and could lead to improved tablet design.
(Image Credit: NASA)
  • Even while it’s fascinating to see a bubble float in space, it’s teaching scientists a lot about how fluids behave differently in microgravity than they do on Earth. The near-weightless circumstances onboard the station enable researchers to study and manage a broad range of fluids in ways that are not conceivable on Earth, principally owing to surface tension dynamics and the absence of buoyancy and sedimentation within fluids in the low-gravity environment. Understanding how fluids respond under these circumstances might lead to better designs for fuel tanks, water systems, and other fluid-based systems for space flight, as well as here on Earth.
  • Many research onboard the orbiting laboratory concentrate on fluid physics, such as the mobility of liquids or the production of bubbles. As on Earth, the emergence of a bubble is sometimes a welcomed feature but might also indicate that something has gone wrong and must be corrected. Technology, studies and even actions as basic as drinking water must take bubbles into mind to be designed to be useful in a microgravity environment.
  • The Observation Analysis of Smectic Islands in Space (OASIS) project explored the peculiar behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity, noting the way these crystals operate as both a solid and a liquid. Freely suspended crystal bubbles in microgravity provide almost perfect fluid systems that are physically and chemically the same for studying liquids in motion. Understanding how these crystals operate in space might lead to enhancements to space-helmet micro-displays and higher-quality screen displays on devices that utilize liquid crystal displays (LCDs) (LCDs).
  • The Capillary Flow Experiment (CFE) intended to address the challenge of moving fluid from one container to another in space. Without gravity, liquids don’t flow the same way they do on Earth, nor do they gather at the bottom of a container the way you expect them to under gravity. The research discovered that while regulating the flow of fluids is challenging in space, capillary forces, or the capacity for a fluid to flow through a tiny tube without the help of gravity, are still there. Capillary Flow Experiment 2 continues the fluid physics study completed during CFE by examining a liquid’s capacity to move over a surface in microgravity. Results from the Capillary Flow Experiments might lead to more efficient fluid systems onboard future spacecraft and a better understanding of capillary forces inherent inside porous materials such as sand, dirt, wicks, and sponges.
  • Researchers utilized the data acquired during the Constrained Vapor Bubble experiment to better understand the physics of evaporation and condensation and how they impact cooling processes. The findings from this work contributed to the construction of basic models of bubble generation, which might help create more effective microelectronic cooling systems.

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Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko conducts a sample exchange for the OASIS investigation. OASIS studies the unique behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity, including their overall motion and the merging of crystal layers known as smectic islands. (Image Credit: NASA)
  • The Eli Lilly Hard to Wet Surfaces project explores a material’s capacity to dissolve in water when in microgravity and may explain why medications appear less effective in space than on Earth. Results from this work might help enhance the design of tablets that dissolve in the body and lead to more efficient medicine delivery on Earth and in space.
  • The Nucleate Pool Boiling Experiment employed microgravity to examine bubble formation from a hot surface, the subsequent detachment of the bubble to a cooler surrounding liquid, and the mechanism by which bubbles transmit heat via fluid flow. The information gained during this inquiry might lead to appropriate equipment utilized to transport heat in severe conditions such as the deep ocean, extreme cold, and high heights.
  • Two-Phase Move explores the heat transfer features of how liquids flow while boiling in microgravity conditions. Heat is generally lost in the boiling process by changing liquid into vapor at the heated surface. That vapor returns to a liquid by condensation, which continues to cycle and form a cooling system. Liquid and bubble act substantially differently in space than on Earth. This study may assist in giving a basic knowledge of the behaviors of bubble formation, liquid-vapor flow in a tube, and how heat transfers in cooling systems.
  • Designed to accommodate a wide variety of experiments, various facilities onboard the station for performing fluid physics investigations. The Fluids Integrated Rack, the Fluid Science Laboratory, and the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility all host experiments in colloids, bubbles, wetting, capillary action, and phase shifts.
Also Read: Researchers see laser-driven tin ejecta microjet interaction.
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