Dynamics of two-dimensional bubbles

Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2015 Jun;91(6):063013. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.91.063013. Epub 2015 Jun 26.


The dynamics of two-dimensional bubbles ascending under the influence of buoyant forces is numerically studied with a one-fluid model coupled with the front-tracking technique. The bubble dynamics are described by recording the position, shape, and orientation of the bubbles as functions of time. The qualitative properties of the bubbles and their terminal velocities are described in terms of the Eötvos (ratio of buoyancy to surface tension) and Archimedes numbers (ratio of buoyancy to viscous forces). The terminal Reynolds number result from the balance of buoyancy and drag forces and, consequently, is not an externally fixed parameter. In the cases that yield small Reynolds numbers, the bubbles follow straight paths and the wake is steady. A more interesting behavior is found at high Reynolds numbers where the bubbles follow an approximately periodic zigzag trajectory and an unstable wake with properties similar to the Von Karman vortex street is formed. The dynamical features of the motion of single bubbles are compared to experimental observations of air bubbles ascending in a water-filled Hele-Shaw cell. Although the comparison is not strictly valid in the sense that the effect of the lateral walls is not incorporated in the model, most of the dynamical properties observed are in good qualitative agreement with the numerical calculations. Hele-Shaw cells with different gaps have been used to determine the degree of approximation of the numerical calculation. It is found that for the relation between the terminal Reynolds number and the Archimedes number, the numerical calculations are closer to the observations of bubble dynamics in Hele-Shaw cells of larger gaps.