Bubble Wrap is a pliable transparent plastic material commonly used for packing fragile items. Regularly spaced, protruding air-filled hemispheres ("bubbles") provide cushioning for precious or breakable items. Bubble Wrap was created by two engineers, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, in 1957. The term is a registered trademark of the Sealed Air Corporation which was founded in 1960 by the two inventors, and should theoretically only be used for products of that company, but has become genericized.
Aside from its commercial use as a shock absorption technique, Bubble Wrap has developed a second use as a sort of stress relief: after opening the package in which the Bubble Wrap is used, popping the bubbles has been seen to have a cathartic effect on people. Whether for stress relief or simple idle occupation of one's fingers, or for the amusement of children, the action of the popping, as well as the tactile response and associated noise made, is a widely known and widely used distraction and source of amusement. Multiple Internet sites housing "virtual bubble wrap" have been created.source
- The final Monday in January is known as Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. This began in America after an Indiana radio station, based in Bloomington, had a delivery of microphones. These were all wrapped in bubble paper and the sound of it popping was unintentionally broadcast. This sparked a wave of wrap appreciation, which led to a special day being allocated to it each year.
- The Bandai toy company created Mugen Puchipuchi, a toy based around popping bubble wrap. A version was also created for the Nintendo Wii, and there are virtual popping games all over the internet.
- The name Bubble Wrap is actually a generic trademark, which is owned by the Sealed Air Corporation. This is the company that Aldred Fielding co-founded in 1960. The term is now widely used to refer to a range of similar products, including bubble packing, bubble pack, air bubble packing, Aeroplast, bubble wrapping and bubble paper.
- It is usually made from LDPE or polyethylene film, and features a flat side bonded with a shaped side to create the trademark bubbles. The bubbles are normally a centimeter in diameter but can be as little as 6mm and as big as 26mm. The size of the bubbles determines how much shock absorption it provides.
- In 1997, the Italian Torninova Corporation created a form of bubble wrap with heart-shaped bubbles.
- 366 people popping bubble wrap at the same time created a new world record.
- It is often used as a means of insulation, on everything from windows to dog kennels, and suits made out of the material are also popular fancy-dress outfits.
- Every year, there is enough bubble wrap created to go around the planet a massive ten times.