Growth-and-collapse dynamics of small bubble clusters near a wall

A. Tiwari, C. Pantano, J. B. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The violent collapse of bubble clusters is thought to damage adjacent material in both engineering and biomedical applications. Yet the complexities of the root mechanisms have restricted theoretical descriptions to significantly simplified configurations. Reduced-physics models based upon either homogenization or arrays of idealized spherical bubbles do reproduce important gross cluster-scale features. However, these models neglect detailed local bubble-bubble interactions, which are expected to mediate damage mechanisms. To describe these bubble-scale interactions, we simulate the expansion and subsequent collapse of a hemispherical cluster of 50 bubbles adjacent to a plane rigid wall, explicitly representing both the asymmetric dynamics of each bubble within the cluster and the compressible-fluid mechanics of bubble-bubble interactions. Results show that the collapse propagates inward, as visualized in experiments, and that geometric focusing generates high impulsive pressures. This gross behaviour is nearly independent of the specific arrangement of bubbles within the cluster and matches predictions from the corresponding particle and homogenized models we consider. The peak pressure in the detailed simulations is associated with the centremost bubble, which causes a corresponding peak pressure on the nearby wall. However, the peak pressures in all cases are a small fraction - over a factor of ten times smaller in many cases - of those predicted in the corresponding reduced models. This is due to the enhanced focusing in the homogeneous model and the spherical constraint on each bubble in the particle models assessed. These would be important factors to consider in any subsequent predictions of wall damage based upon reduced models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 16 2015


  • biomedical flows
  • bubble dynamics
  • cavitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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