Influence of Evaporation on Soap Film Rupture


Although soap films are prone to evaporate due to their large surface to volume ratio, the effect of evaporation on macroscopic film features has often been disregarded in the literature. In this work, we experimentally investigate the influence of environmental humidity on soap film stability. An original experiment allows to measure both the maximum length of a film pulled at constant velocity and its thinning dynamics in a controlled atmosphere for various values of the relative humidity RH. At first order, the environmental humidity seems to have almost no impact on most of the film thinning dynamics. However, we find that the film length at rupture increases continuously with RH. To rationalize our observations, we propose that film bursting occurs when the thinning due to evaporation becomes comparable to the thinning due to liquid drainage. This rupture criterion turns out to be in reasonable agreement with an estimation of the evaporation rate in our experiment.