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I experienced a "gotcha" when trying to mix up my first batch of Vincent Amendola's PVA/Guar/JLube Juice

When I added the PVA solution to the guar gum slurry, a discrete gel ball (about 5 ml big) formed in the slurry after a minute or two.

I tried to mash it up with two forks, but that didn't work. It wouldn't break up and it wouldn't dissolve with stirring. I waited 10 minutes to see if it might dissolve or soften on its own. It didn't! After about 10 minutes, I decided to try something else. I warmed the slurry VERY briefly in the microwave (20 seconds on partial power) and stirred it for a minute. It seemed to get smaller. I repeated the warm and stir process a few times, and the ball mostly dissolved, but there were still a few bits of discrete 'hard' gel.

While still warm, I combined it with the JLube/Detergent slurry and continued as described in the recipe.

So far, I have only tested with a small plastic wand, and the juice worked great for that. I got more than 10 bubbles per dip (easily). When I blew bubbles and held them on the wand, they lasted a very long time. The first bubble lasted 6 minutes 54 seconds and the second one lasted five minutes. By comparison, bubbles I blew with another 20:1 juice were lasting about 90 seconds. The temperature was 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% or a bit less humidity.

Granted, these were very informal tests without an adequate control, but I feel that the results indicate that some serious testing should be done. I haven't had a chance to try this with a big bubble rig yet. So, I don't know if those small wand results will bear a relation to big bubble performance.

I any case, if you are an experimenter and optimizer, this recipe deserves some exploration.

An observation: I noticed that the bubble walls were thicker than I expect with a 20 to 1 solution. Here are a few photos of bubbles held on the wand with comments. There was a considerable band of "black film" (the transparent non-glossy film that indicates a super-thin film) for quite a while before the bubble finally popped at 6 minutes 54 seconds.

20181022 0387 crop

The bubble after about 20 seconds. The lack of blue indicates that this bubble film is quite thick, thicker than the initial state for most 20 to 1 solutions. (Where the ratio is water to Dawn Pro).

20181022 0376 bubble 1 after one or more minutes crop

Here is the bubble after almost 90 seconds. It has thinned quite a bit, but the film is quite a bit thicker than a typical 20 to 1 bubble under these conditions.

 
20181022 0378 bubble 1 after 4min10 crop

The bubble after more than four minutes. Only little dots of the black film have appeared.

20181022 0380 bubble 1 after 430 crop

After more than four minutes 30 seconds. More spots of black film have appeared.

 
20181022 0384 bubble 1 after 6min50 crop

After almost 7 minutes, the bubble is largely black film. Notice the hair-like filaments at the top. Those "hairs" are really soap film that is a bit thicker than the black film--just thick enough to still reflect some light.

 

Recipe

This is the recipe version currently on the wiki (but subject to adjustment). Note that there are a couple of slight departures from the recipe which I have called out in bold.

  • Slurry together 1 gram guar gum and propylene glycol to cover
  • Add 50ml glycerine to slurry and mix
  • Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) homemade 10% PVA solution (instead of a commercial preparation)
  • Stir and let rest 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. There was a glitch here. See note at beginning of this blog entry. A gel ball formed which required heating and stirring to mostly dissolve.
  • In another container, slurry 1/2 gram J-Lube (NOTE: I actually used 1 gram since the J-Lube I have is very old and lost a lot of potency before I discovered that it should be kept in the freezer for long-term storage) with glycerine, propylene glycol or isopropyl alcohol.
  • MIx J-Lube slurry with 50 grams Dawn or Fairy
  • Mix in 50 grams (ml) of water
  • MIx all slurries together
  • Add 1000 grams (or ml) water
  • Add 1/2 heaping teaspoon baking powder.

Follow-up

(Nov. 1, 2018). While the small bubbles (3-inch to 4-inch diameter) blown indoors and held on a wand (what I call static bubbles) from this batch had great longevity, when I went outside and used the mix to make giant bubbles under good conditions (65F and 85% RH), the juice did not seem to perform very differently from the basic PEO-based juice that I had on hand.

I have mixed up a few variants of the Amendola mix. The mixes worked well but so far have not seemed noticeably different from a basic PEO mix. I will continue to test.

It must be said that I do not have the same PVA source as Vincent Amendola and this might be important.

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