Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Colored Bubbles

PostedApril 30, 2006

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins:  Solid colored bubbles were thought to be practically impossible.

Tim Kehoe:  The bubble wall is so thin that most scientists will tell you that you can't get any visible color to show up.

Randy Atkins:  But Tim Kehoe, a Minnesota inventor, tried anyway.  At first his colors just formed a dot at the bubble's bottom.  When he finally found a dye that worked, it stained.  Then he found...

Tim Kehoe:  ...something I'd spent eight years trying to make washable wasn't going to be good enough.  They had to disappear.

Randy Atkins:  So Kehoe finally hired a dye chemist who engineered brand new bubble-coloring chemicals that can vanish when they pop.

Tim Kehoe:  And we have control over that.  So they can fade in ten seconds or two hours.

Randy Atkins:  Other potential applications range from timed toothbrushing to temporary spray paint.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.  

Colored bubbles should be available in toy stores within a year.  To find out more about this story, go to and click on "Innovative Engineering" under "Quick Links" at the very bottom of the page.