zome Crazy Bubbles

Have you seen a square bubble?

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Bubbles are minimum surfaces. Normal bubbles enclose the maximum volume of air with the minimum bubble solution, so they are always spherical. Zome bubbles are also minimum surfaces, but when they are stretched between Zome struts, they take on amazing shapes. So you get a square bubble inside a Zome cube.

Bubbles form because of the surface tension of water. Water is polar: hydrogen atoms in a water molecule are attracted to oxygen atoms in other water molecules. So water molecules cling together.

The surface tension of water alone is too strong to make good bubbles. Adding soap to water reduces surface tension and adds an oily film that slows evaporation for longer lasting bubbles.

Simple structures make the best bubbles.

Bubble Recipe

Start with 8 liters of warm water in a bucket or deep sink. Use a container at least 30 cm (one foot) in diameter and at least 30 cm (one foot) deep. A large bucket is ideal, or try a rectangular file box (from any office store).

Add 1/2 cup of liquid dishwashing detergent. Mix the bubble solution gently and remove excess foam.

For tougher, longer lasting bubbles, add 1 tablespoon glycerin.

Making the Bubbles

  • Tighten the connections on your model, then dip it into the bubble solution. Always hold the model by a node. Dipping at an angle works best.
  • Be sure that the model is immersed completely, so that all sides are covered.
  • Gently lift the model out of the bubble solution. You should have an exciting geometric bubble!
  • Keep clearing the surface regularly of excess foam.

Working in groups promotes valuable team skills. By discussing the challenges of a group project, students practise communication in mathematical language, and draw deeper understanding from the observations of their team members.

No previous knowledge required

Students with a wide range of proficiency levels achieve excellent results exploring concepts with Zome System.

  • All students benefit from the active involvement; they hear the teacher's explanation, they see how the shapes relate to each other and they touch and manipulate the components.
  • By building structures students use more of their senses to understand a concept.
  • High achieving students with strong mathematical, logical and visual spatial skills make advanced connections between mathematics, technology and natural sciences.

Activities do not require specific levels of language comprehension. Students explore universal concepts accessible to everyone, regardless of cultural background. Activites may be used to promote language skills in English as a Second Language classes.

Recording created Bubbles

Children are very proud of the bubbles they create.

Australian made bubble

Use a camera to record achievements and create a visual reminder of the concepts learned.

The components will fade and become brittle with prolonged expose to sunlight. Dirty parts can be washed in a garment bag in a washing machine. Zome System components are made of high quality ABS plastic and are very durable.

Ozpod Pty Ltd supplies Zome System to educators, children, specialty retailers, scientific institutions, and experimental users in Australia.

To download a pdf file of building instructions, click here.

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square bubble

download a pdf file of instructions

Bubble Kit awards

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2000

Dr. Toy Best Vacation Children's Products 1999

Family Life Magazine "20 Great Toys for Under $20" 1999

Child Magazine "The Year's Top Toys" 1999

Science series


Dr Burkard Polster coordinated a school holiday program run by the Monash Science Centre for children to explore the world of soap bubbles.

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