New Bubble Popping Theory Could Help Track Ocean Pollution and Viruses
Bubbles are fun for everyone. But, it turns out, they can also be little menaces.
When a bubble pops, it can concentrate and aerosolize any particles stuck on it. Not a big deal when it’s a store-bought soapy bubble bursting in the yard or on your hand. But it’s a major concern when the particles it carries are potentially hazardous: bubbles caught in a crashing wave can send vaporized microplastics into the air where they might mess with the Earth’s atmosphere; bubbles burst by a flushing toilet can fling bacteria meters and onto nearby surfaces; a frothing cruise ship hot tub was once shown to be a Legionnaires’ disease super-spreader.
The Beauty and Science of Bubbles
Prof. James Bird (ME, MSE) discusses his research on the scientific significance of bubbles.