0
$\begingroup$

I was bathing the kids the other night, and used more bubble bath than normal. Being small, they got a bit freaked out by the enormous piles of bubbles that they had to sit in. To try to diffuse the situation, I showed them a few ways to try to flatten out the foam, destroy the bubbles and making the bath a bit more like they're used to.

This got me to thinking... what's the most efficient way to 'destroy' bubble foam?

Methods I tried:

  • Pour water onto the foam (through a toy that has a sort of colander pattern of holes in it)
  • Pat the foam down with a cupped hand and push the foam into the water
  • Place a flannel onto the foam and try to push that down onto the surface of the water
  • put foam between hands and clap
  • generally splash about in and around the foam
  • (various incidents of making bubble beards, funny hair styles etc, but I'm not sure they're so relevant here...?)

I'm guessing the surface area of my hand, versus the spray pattern of the colander has some bearing on the result, so I guess we need to assume that the scale of whatever we're doing is the same in all cases.

Some methods presumably create bubbles at the same time as destroying them. However I'd say larger bubbles are more easily popped than smaller foam, so presumably we'd have a net-gain in that sort of case. I guess we'd need to consider the number of bubbles popped by any action, versus the volume of foam, though.

Lastly, I know that various chemicals can be used to destroy foam (including soap), but let's assume we're not going to add anything else to my kids bathwater. I guess I'm after physical destruction rather than chemical ;-)

$\endgroup$

closed as off-topic by Kyle Kanos, ACuriousMind, user36790, John Rennie, Martin Mar 22 '16 at 16:09

  • This question does not appear to be about physics within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't really see a physics question here. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Mar 21 '16 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ i think you have to dry your hands then just tap them!! $\endgroup$ – user5954246 Mar 21 '16 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ For this you also need to consider , how bubbles were formed as first. $\endgroup$ – Anubhav Goel Mar 21 '16 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Just use your hair dryer on the bubbles! $\endgroup$ – Peter Diehr Mar 21 '16 at 20:00
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about physics. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Mar 22 '16 at 0:44
1
$\begingroup$

You need a de-foaming agent added to the water

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ OP says explicitly that they don't want chemicals... $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Mar 21 '16 at 17:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos Well, in that case a blowtorch works REALLY well! Problem solved $\endgroup$ – user56903 Mar 21 '16 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ But then you'd have a ruined bathroom. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Mar 21 '16 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Well, in that case a blowtorch works REALLY well! My sentiments exactly, Dirk. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Mar 23 '16 at 13:06
-1
$\begingroup$

Most Efficient Way to Pop Bubbles

Most efficient is a little ambiguous, in that we could be talking about the cheapest method, or the fastest, et cetera. But no matter, I'll go with the flow.

I was bathing the kids the other night, and used more bubble bath than normal. Being small, they got a bit freaked out by the enormous piles of bubbles that they had to sit in. To try to diffuse the situation, I showed them a few ways to try to flatten out the foam, destroy the bubbles and making the bath a bit more like they're used to.

Nice.

This got me to thinking... what's the most efficient way to 'destroy' bubble foam? Methods I tried: Pour water onto the foam (through a toy that has a sort of colander pattern of holes in it). Pat the foam down with a cupped hand and push the foam into the water...

There's lots of other things you could have tried. Such as cold water from the shower hose. Spraying them with deodorant. The list goes on.

Some methods presumably create bubbles at the same time as destroying them. However I'd say larger bubbles are more easily popped than smaller foam, so presumably we'd have a net-gain in that sort of case. I guess we'd need to consider the number of bubbles popped by any action, versus the volume of foam, though.

Yep. Mechanical agitation is how you make bubbles. You need to go the other way. Take a tip Peter Diehr and his hair dryer...

Lastly, I know that various chemicals can be used to destroy foam (including soap), but let's assume we're not going to add anything else to my kids bathwater. I guess I'm after physical destruction rather than chemical ;-)

What you need is a tank of hydrogen and a tank of oxygen and some appropriate tubing. When the hydrogen and oxygen react together the result is pure clean water. And to make them react, you simply apply a spark of some kind:

ROAARRRRRRRRR!

That'll soon take care of them bubbles. What you need Ralph, is a flamethrower.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.