We’ve figured out why bubbles make a ‘pop’ sound when they burst

Bubble popping

Can you hear the pop?

RICHARD BEECH PHOTOGRAPHY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Everyone loves the satisfying pop when a bubble bursts, but what exactly produces the sound? Adrien Bussonnière at Sorbonne University in Paris, France, and his colleagues studied audio of bubbles popping to find out – and it involves an imbalance of forces.

On a fundamental level, sound is a pressure wave. The air inside a bubble is under more pressure than the air outside it, as it is compressed by the surface tension of the bubble film – that is, until it bursts. “The forces applied by the liquid soap …

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