The Open Wide project at the Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham is an exhibition space featuring the research and work of the staff and students. The current exhibition called Dancing Bubbles brings together scientists and artists from the University of Birmingham to enter the world of cavitation bubbles. It is based on EPSRC funded research in Professor Walmsley’s group (EP/P015743/1).
Cavitation bubbles are microbubbles which rapidly grow and collapse. When they collapse, they release forces which can clean plaque from teeth. Thousands of bubbles act as tiny scrubbers across the surface. Postdoctoral researcher Nina Vyas has created video art from high speed images of cavitation bubbles taken during research in the laboratory.
An art-science workshop was also held in conjunction with the exhibition called The Sound of Dancing Bubbles, led by sound artist and composer Emma Margetson and researcher Dr Nina Vyas. Two workshops were held for children aged 4-8 and 8-12. Here we unveiled our new outreach activities using sounds from the research to create bubble art. The first part of the workshop involved the Blast a Biofilm game, to explain the importance of dental hygiene to children and to explain how bubbles could clean teeth. In the second part, children used an underwater microphone called a hydrophone to make their own bubble sounds and learned how ultrasound can make cavitation bubbles.
They also listened to the sound of the cavitation bubbles produced around a dental ultrasonic scaler, and learned through popping bubble wrap that cavitation bubbles also pop and this is when they can clean. Finally, they listened to various compositions of cavitation sounds and created bubble art based on what they could hear.
‘I learned that germs grow on your teeth and you need to brush them. Bubbles can clean your teeth in the future’ – Children from the 8-12 age group workshop
‘I learnt plaque sticks germs to your teeth and bubbles move plaque’ – Children from the 4-8 age group
Click here to find out more about the Dancing Bubbles exhibition: https://bdhopenwide.com/dancing-bubbles/
Photos by Candy Salomon-Ibarra