The Science Behind Color-Changing Pop Its: How Do They Work?


Pop Its, also known as bubble poppers, have taken the world by storm since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. These small, silicone devices have become a popular stress-relieving toy for both children and adults alike. Recently, color-changing Pop Its have become a new trend in the toy industry. In this blog, we will dive deep into the science behind color-changing Pop Its and explore how they work.

Part 1: The Chemistry of Color-Changing Pop Its

Color-changing Pop Its contain a special type of dye that changes color when exposed to heat. This dye is known as thermochromic dye, which is a type of chromatic material that changes color in response to changes in temperature.

Thermochromic dyes work due to the properties of the molecules they contain. These molecules are known as leuco dyes, which are colorless at low temperatures but change color when heated. When exposed to heat, the molecules undergo a chemical reaction that causes them to change their molecular structure, which results in a change in color.

The dyes in color-changing Pop Its are often formulated with different activation temperatures. For example, some dyes may turn red at 30°C, while others may turn blue at 40°C. This variety in activation temperatures allows for a range of color-changing effects.

Part 2: The Physics of Color-Changing Pop Its

The color-changing effect in Pop Its is not only due to the chemistry of the thermochromic dye but also the physics of the device. The color-changing effect in Pop Its occurs when the bubbles are popped or compressed, which creates heat.

When a Pop It is compressed, the air inside the bubbles is compressed as well, which results in an increase in temperature. This increase in temperature activates the thermochromic dye, causing it to change color. Similarly, when a Pop It bubble is popped, the air inside the bubble is quickly released, which creates a sudden drop in pressure and an increase in temperature. This sudden increase in temperature also activates the thermochromic dye, causing it to change color.

Part 3: The Engineering of Color-Changing Pop Its

The design of color-changing Pop Its is a combination of materials engineering and product design. The silicone material used in Pop Its is soft and flexible, which allows for easy popping and compression. Additionally, the material is an excellent thermal insulator, which helps to maintain a consistent temperature during use.

The shape of the bubbles in Pop Its is also important for the color-changing effect. The bubbles are designed to be small and thin, which allows for a faster heat transfer between the air inside the bubbles and the thermochromic dye. This fast heat transfer allows for a quick color change, which enhances the user’s experience.


In conclusion, color-changing Pop Its are a perfect example of how science, physics, and engineering come together to create a fun and innovative toy. The chemistry of thermochromic dyes, the physics of heat transfer, and the engineering of materials and design all contribute to the color-changing effect in Pop Its. These toys are not only a great stress-relieving tool but also a fantastic way to learn about science and engineering.

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