Foam: A multiphase system with many facets

Sascha Hilgenfeldt, Shehla Arif, Jih Chiang Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liquid foams are an extreme case of multiphase flow systems: capable of flow despite a very high dispersed phase volume fraction, yet exhibiting many characteristics of not only viscoelastic materials but also elastic solids. The non-trivial, well-defined geometry of foam bubbles is at the heart of a plethora of dynamical processes on widely varying length and time scales. We highlight recent developments in foam drainage (liquid dynamics) and foam rheology (flow of the entire gas-liquid system), emphasizing that many poorly understood features of other materials have precisely defined and quantifiable analogues in aqueous foams, where the only ingredients are well-known material parameters of Newtonian fluids and bubble geometry, together with subtle but important information on the surface mobility of the foam. Not only does this make foams an ideal model system for the theorist, but also an exciting object for experimental studies, in which dynamical processes span length scales from nanometres (thin films) to metres (foam continuum flows) and time scales from microseconds (film rupture) to minutes (foam rheology).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2145-2159
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1873
StatePublished - Jun 28 2008


  • Coarsening
  • Drainage
  • Foam rheology
  • Liquid foam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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