Coalescence of diffusively growing gas bubbles

Álvaro Moreno Soto* (Corresponding Author), Tom Maddalena, Arjan Fraters, Devaraj van der Meer, Detlef Lohse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)
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Under slightly supersaturated conditions, bubbles need many minutes to grow due to the low gas diffusivity in liquids. When coalescence occurs, the fact that the bubbles have diffusively grown on top of a surface allows for control with precision of the location and the timing at which the coalescence takes place. Numerous coalescences of two CO2 microbubbles in water are recorded at a frame rate of ∼65 000fps. The evolution of the coalescing process is analysed in detail, differentiating among three phases: neck formation, wave propagation along the bubble surface and bubble detachment. First of all, the formation of the collapsing neck between both bubbles is compared to a capillary-inertial theoretical model. Afterwards, the propagating deformation along the surface is characterised measuring its evolution, velocity and dominant wavelength. Once bubbles coalesce, the perturbing waves and the final shape of the new bubble breaks the equilibrium between buoyancy and capillary forces. Consequently, the coalesced bubble detaches and rises due to buoyancy, oscillating with its natural Minnaert frequency. In addition to the experiments, a boundary integral code has been used to obtain numerical results of the coalescence under similar conditions, showing excellent agreement with the experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-165
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Bubble dynamics
  • Capillary waves
  • Breakup/coalescence


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