This is for a fantasy/fiction story. I have a character who can manipulate her gum bubbles (so make them strong or bigger, blah blah...), that's why I wanted to know if the explosions of her bubbles can move things a bit or make someone go deaf for a short period of time. I also want to know how big they need to be in order to do so.

Thank you!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This looks like more of a story question rather than a question about building your world. You can handwave bubble gum manipulation to be as weak or as strong a power as you want. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 10, 2020 at 21:20
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings I disagree. It would appear to me that the OP is trying to make their character's ability plausible; in other words, they want to know the physical limits of how much "boom" a bursting bubblegum bubble can possibly produce, in order to keep handwaving to a minimum. $\endgroup$
    – The Daleks
    Sep 10, 2020 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ Remember, every action (force) occurs in equal and opposite directions, so whatever the gum bubble does to something else, it also does to her head and mouth. If the force of the bursting bubble can move a car, for instance, it will apply the same force to her head. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThymetheSecond Maybe. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Sep 11, 2020 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Ahhh, yes. The Law of Uintended Consequences meets the Law of Necessary but Unstated Consequences. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 16:33

3 Answers 3


The bursting force of a bubble does not depend so much on the size of the bubble, but on the air pressure that the bubble is able to withstand. Small eight inch diameter tires, if blown up far beyond the pressure indicated, can suddenly fail and release enough pressure energy to tip a fully loaded wheelbarrow over, and the sound wave is definitely 'loud' enough to temporarily cause deafness in a person.

So to this end, the issue becomes, not so much the bubble (that is a strength-of-materials issue) but how hard can she blow? Is she capable of blowing with, say, a sustained pressure of 300 PSI? This is more than the pressure necessary for inflating the average bicycle tire, which means she would be able to blow up a tire with just her breath.


Up to 168 decibels

There's research on how loud you can get a balloon to pop. Their made of a stretchy sticky thing. They're both inflated by the mouth, and they both annoy me when they pop, so I'm calling them equivalent.

This ScienceDaily article summerising research from the University of Alberta records that's it's 168 decibels. 4 decibels louder than a shotgun, and 28 decibels larger than OH&S standards allow.


As much as you want...

Bubble gum can't do what your character is able to do with it, so the natural properties of gum don't apply. However, I'm assuming you'd like the gum to behave somewhat, well, GUMMY, so here's what I think.

If your character can manipulate gum infinitely, they can store up pressurized gas inside the bubble (how to get it in, I don't know - someone suggested inflating the bubble to huge size, then shrinking the whole thing) and condense the gas to millions of kPa. Theoretically releasing this much pressure can be as devastating as you want, if the character can do it remotely (otherwise, they might vaporize themselves...) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_nuclear_explosions The gum could even be "inflated" with explosives, and the gum contain the burst, storing the force for later. This could be defensive (I imagine a time bomb going 3-2-1 DUD, but the character now has a massive explosion stored up for later).

Also consider volume of the gum and controlling adhesive properties. If you can expand the gum, or convert unchewed gum instantly to a chewed form, the gum could behave much like less-lethal foam. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticky_foam Applying the same gum to someone's respiratory tract could cut off breathing and kill someone. If the gum is made to behave in an amoeboid fashion, but an edge is created that is hard and razor sharp, the person could have a sort of remote assassin, especially in a gum-rich environment like a subway or public school. It could slice someone open, crawl in and then plug the arteries going to their heart or brain. No one would understand what happened until the autopsy.

You can give such an ability as much or as little power as your creativity chooses. Kind of a weirdly specific ability, but if it is so limited to range as only gum, make every stick count.

  • $\begingroup$ To get high pressures inside, you could blow up a really big bubble, then use your powers to shrink it down $\endgroup$
    – Kofthefens
    Sep 11, 2020 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Kofthefens That's a good thought. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Sep 11, 2020 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ if you do that there's a chance that the gum could spontaneously ignite - even more fun! $\endgroup$
    – Jasen
    Sep 12, 2020 at 8:48

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