Dynamics of cavitation clouds within a high-intensity focused ultrasonic beam

Yuan Lu, Joseph Katz, Andrea Prosperetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this experimental study, we generate a 500 kHz high-intensity focused ultrasonic beam, with pressure amplitude in the focal zone of up to 1.9 MPa, in initially quiescent water. The resulting pressure field and behavior of the cavitation bubbles are measured using high-speed digital in-line holography. Variations in the water density and refractive index are used for determining the spatial distribution of the acoustic pressure nonintrusively. Several cavitation phenomena occur within the acoustic partially standing wave caused by the reflection of sound from the walls of the test chamber. At all sound levels, bubbly layers form in the periphery of the focal zone in the pressure nodes of the partial standing wave. At high sound levels, clouds of vapor microbubbles are generated and migrate in the direction of the acoustic beam. Both the cloud size and velocity vary periodically, with the diameter peaking at the pressure nodes and velocity at the antinodes. A simple model involving linearized bubble dynamics, Bjerknes forces, sound attenuation by the cloud, added mass, and drag is used to predict the periodic velocity of the bubble cloud, as well as qualitatively explain the causes for the variations in the cloud size. The analysis shows that the primary Bjerknes force and drag dominate the cloud motion, and suggests that the secondary Bjerknes force causes the oscillations in the cloud size.
Original languageEnglish
Article number073301
Pages (from-to)073301-1-073301-17
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics of fluids
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • IR-89973
  • METIS-297851


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