A unifying Rayleigh-Plesset-type equation for bubbles in viscoelastic media

Alexandros T. Oratis, Kay Dijs, Guillaume Lajoinie, Michel Versluis, Jacco H. Snoeijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Understanding the ultrasound pressure-driven dynamics of microbubbles confined in viscoelastic materials is relevant for multiple biomedical applications, ranging from contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging to ultrasound-assisted drug delivery. The volumetric oscillations of spherical bubbles are analyzed using the Rayleigh-Plesset equation, which describes the conservation of mass and momentum in the surrounding medium. Several studies have considered an extension of the Rayleigh-Plesset equation for bubbles embedded into viscoelastic media, but these are restricted to a particular choice of constitutive model and/or to small deformations. Here, we derive a unifying equation applicable to bubbles in viscoelastic media with arbitrary complex moduli and that can account for large bubble deformations. To derive this equation, we borrow concepts from finite-strain theory. We validate our approach by comparing the result of our model to previously published results and extend it to show how microbubbles behave in arbitrary viscoelastic materials. In particular, we use our viscoelastic Rayleigh-Plesset model to compute the bubble dynamics in benchmarked viscoelastic liquids and solids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1593-1605
Number of pages13
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • NLA


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