Beautiful video footage shows a soap bubble freezing over in less than 30 seconds on a 18°F (-28°C) morning in Winnipeg, Canada.
The relaxing footage shows the bubble gently quivering in the wind before it starts to form ice crystals all over its surface.
The perfectly-spherical bubble finally solidifies to form what looks like a peaceful ice planet from a galaxy far, far away.
It was captured and posted to YouTube and Twitter by Heather Hinam, a Canada-based artist, photographer and wildlife enthusiast.
‘Cold, clear days with very little wind are great for freezing bubbles,’ Hinam tweeted.
‘This morning’s -28°C had me out in the backyard with the good camera, the bubble solution and the tripod.
TRY YOUR OWN FROZEN BUBBLE
To get results like the one in the video, all you need is:
– 100 mL of warm water
– 17 mL of dish soap
– 17 mL of corn syrup
– 1 tbsp of sugar
… and a cold winter’s morning with minimal wind!
‘Here’s a frozen moment of zen for your afternoon.’
In the video, Hinam uses a clear tube dipped in a special solution, made up of warm water, washing up liquid, corn syrup and sugar.
‘The sugar and corn syrup, as far as I understand it, adds a bit of structure to the bubble so it doesn’t pop as fast in the cold,’ Hinam told MailOnline.
‘They still pop very easily and it usually takes several tries before I get one that is stable enough to freeze.
‘I haven’t tried freezing bubbles with just soap and water, but I have a feeling it would be harder to keep them intact long enough to freeze.’
The footage shows Hinam blowing through the tube and the bubble gently forming and wobbling in the morning wind.
After only five seconds after the bubble’s formation, tiny pinpricks of white begin to appear on various parts of its surface.
These pinpricks grow steadily larger, forming a variety of jagged and elaborately-patterned crystal formations, which eventually merge to form a complete ice sphere.
This beautiful phenomena is known as the ‘snow globe effect’ and was detailed in a scientific paper published in the journal Nature Communications in 2019.
‘Droplets or puddles tend to freeze from the propagation of a single freeze front,’ the paper, authored by researchers from Virginia Tech, reads.
‘In contrast, videographers have shown that as soap bubbles freeze, a plethora of growing ice crystals can swirl around in a beautiful effect visually reminiscent of a snow globe.’
Study author Jonathan Boreyko and colleagues investigated the heat transfer processes that govern the dynamics of freezing soap bubbles.
The authors placed bubbles on a icy surface with the room at two different temperature conditions and filmed the separate freezing processes.
When the bubble was deposited on an icy substrate in a freezer and surrounding air was the same temperature as the bubble, the snow globe effect, just like Hinam’s, was observed.
Image from the 2019 study shows the dynamics of freezing bubbles under various ambient conditions. a) bubbles deposited on an icy substrate contained within a freezer, the freeze front induced local heating at the bottom of the bubble. This resulted in a Marangoni flow and the bubble freezing from multiple fronts. b) For bubbles deposited on a chilled, icy substrate in a room-temperature environment, the freeze front grew bottom-up in a uniform fashion before stopping entirely at a critical height
The scientists described how it was a result of a phenomena known as a Marangoni flow, which sees a liquid flow from areas of low surface tension to areas of high surface tension, causing ice crystals to detach and swirl independently.
Eventually the entire bubble freezes over as the crystal aggregates.
Meanwhile, for bubbles deposited on a chilled, icy substrate at room temperature, ice grew bottom-up in a uniform fashion.
The bubble froze from the coldest point – where the bubble was in contact with the frozen surface – and slowly rose upwards.
This process was halted halfway up the bubble due to poor conduction and eventually collapsed when it could no longer sustain itself.
‘The freeze front slowly propagates upward and comes to a complete stop at a critical height,’ the team reported.
WHAT IS THE A MARANGONI FLOW?
Marangoni flow sees a liquid flow from areas of low surface tension to areas of high surface tension.
It is often caused by the difference in the concentration of a chemical dissolved in water.
For example, variations in alcohol in wine and soap in bubbles.
It can often cause a convection current around the liquid.
It can be seen manifesting itself when bubbles freeze over.
The change in concentration of the soap causes ice fragments to break away and swarm around the bubble.
These eventually aggregate and form a frozen layer around the bubble.