Controlled multibubble surface cavitation

Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Jun 9;96(22):224501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.224501. Epub 2006 Jun 5.


Heterogeneous bubble nucleation at surfaces has been notorious because of its irreproducibility. Here controlled multibubble surface cavitation is achieved by using a hydrophobic surface patterned with microcavities. The expansion of the nuclei in the microcavities is triggered by a fast lowering of the liquid pressure. The procedure allows us to control and fix the bubble distance within the bubble cluster. We observe a perfect quantitative reproducibility of the cavitation events where the inner bubbles in the two-dimensional cluster are shielded by the outer ones, reflected by their later expansion and their delayed collapse. Apart from the final bubble collapse phase (when jetting flows directed towards the cluster's center develop), the bubble dynamics can be quantitatively described by an extended Rayleigh-Plesset equation, taking pressure modification through the surrounding bubbles into account.