Phase diagrams for sonoluminescing bubbles

Sascha Hilgenfeldt, Detlef Lohse, Michael P. Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sound driven gas bubbles in water can emit light pulses. This phenomenon is called sonoluminescence (SL). Two different phases of single bubble SL have been proposed: diffusively stable and diffusively unstable SL. We present phase diagrams in the gas concentration versus forcing pressure state space and also in the ambient radius versus gas concentration and versus forcing pressure state spaces. These phase diagrams are based on the thresholds for energy focusing in the bubble and two kinds of instabilities, namely (i) shape instabilities and (ii) diffusive instabilities. Stable SL only occurs in a tiny parameter window of large forcing pressure amplitude Pa∼1.2-1.5 atm and low gas concentration of less than 0.4% of the saturation. The upper concentration threshold becomes smaller with increased forcing. Our results quantitatively agree with experimental results of Putterman's UCLA group on argon, but not on air. However, air bubbles and other gas mixtures can also successfully be treated in this approach if in addition (iii) chemical instabilities are considered. All statements are based on the Rayleigh-Plesset ODE approximation of the bubble dynamics, extended in an adiabatic approximation to include mass diffusion effects. This approximation is the only way to explore considerable portions of parameter space, as solving the full PDEs is numerically too expensive. Therefore, we checked the adiabatic approximation by comparison with the full numerical solution of the advection diffusion PDE and find good agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2808-2826
Number of pages19
JournalPhysics of fluids
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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