The effects of trapped bubbles on viscous drag reduction for submerged surfaces

Kelly A. Stephani, David B. Goldstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The effect on viscous drag of trapped bubbles on a submerged flat plate was investigated. The objective was to determine if viscous drag reduction could be obtained by replacing portions of the solid no-slip surface of the plate with areas of near-slip formed by bubbles. One configuration involved a large bubble trapped on the bottom surface of a horizontally mounted plate, which provides insight as to the maximum drag reduction obtainable using the trapped bubble concept. A second configuration involved a trapped bubble array (TBA), which used electrolysis to grow and maintain bubbles on the plate surface in thousands of tiny conductive holes. The TBA experiments were conducted on a vertical plate, to demonstrate the versatility of this drag reduction method. Drag measurements were acquired over a range of Reynolds numbers using either a force balance for plates mounted in a vertical orientation, or by performing a momentum integral balance using a LDA wake survey for plates mounted in either vertical or horizontal orientations. Results show that a drag reduction of up to 32% was obtained for the large trapped bubble case, while negligible drag reduction was obtained for the array of tiny trapped bubbles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - 37th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event37th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference - Miami, FL, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2007Jun 28 2007

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - 37th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference


Other37th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMiami, FL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Aerospace Engineering


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