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The elasticity of soap bubbles containing wormlike micelles

The elasticity of soap bubbles containing wormlike micelles

Langmuir 30(3): 727-732

Slow-motion imaging of the rupture of soap bubbles generally shows the edges of liquid films retracting at a constant speed (known as the Taylor-Culick velocity). Here we investigate soap bubbles formed from simple solutions of a cationic surfactant (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide - CTAB) and sodium salicylate. The interaction of salicylate ions with CTAB leads to the formation of wormlike micelles (WLM), which yield a viscoelastic behavior to the liquid film of the bubble. We demonstrate that these elastic bubbles collapse at a velocity up to 30 times higher than the Taylor-Culick limit, which has never been surpassed. This is because during the bubble inflation, the entangled WLM chains stretch, storing elastic energy. This extra energy is then released during the rupture of the bubble, yielding an additional driving force for film retraction (besides surface tension). This new mechanism for the bursting of elastic bubbles may have important implications to the breakup of viscoelastic sprays in industrial applications.

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Accession: 056327966

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24401119

DOI: 10.1021/la404513h

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