Anyone who has ever made bubbles knows the joy of a big one and the instant disappointment when it pops. A bubble is made of fluid layered between two thin films of soap that eventually succumb to gravity. And it usually happens within seconds.

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But there's a way to make bubbles last much longer, maybe even for hours. Researchers from the University of Lyon in France found that if they trapped a bubble between two platinum electrodes and delivered a charge, the soap flowed upward against gravity. The bubble's walls became thicker and more stable and even changed colors.

The research gives new insight into the strange world of fluid dynamics and could help improve experiments with lab-on-a-chip technologies.

They reported their work in Physical Review Letters.

Photo: Performer Pep Bou sits inside a fleeting bubble sculpture he made with soap and water at the annual Quebec City Summer Festival. Credit: Robert Wagenhoffer/Corbis