Modelling large scale airgun-bubble dynamics with highly non-spherical features

Shuai Li*, Devaraj van der Meer, A. Man Zhang, Andrea Prosperetti, Detlef Lohse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


A thorough understanding of the dynamics of meter-sized airgun-bubbles is very crucial to seabed geophysical exploration. In this study, we use the boundary integral method to investigate the highly non-spherical airgun-bubble dynamics and its corresponding pressure wave emission. Moreover, a model is proposed to also consider the process of air release from the airgun port, which is found to be the most crucial factor to estimate the initial peak of the pressure wave. The numerical simulations show good agreement with experiments, in terms of non-spherical bubble shapes and pressure waves. Thereafter, the effects of the port opening time Topen, airgun firing depth, heat transfer, and gravity are numerically investigated. We find that a smaller Topen leads to a more violent air release that consequently causes stronger high-frequency pressure wave emissions; however, the low-frequency pressure waves are little affected. Additionally, the non-spherical bubble dynamics is highly dependent on the Froude number Fr. Starting from Fr=2, as Fr increases, the jet contains lower kinetic energy, resulting in a stronger energy focusing of the bubble collapse itself and thus a larger pressure peak during the bubble collapse phase. For Fr ≥ 7, the spherical bubble theory becomes an appropriate description of the airgun-bubble. The new findings of this study may provide a reference for practical operations and designing environmentally friendly airguns in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103143
JournalInternational journal of multiphase flow
Early online date18 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Airgun-bubble
  • Boundary integral method
  • Geophysical exploration
  • Pressure wave
  • Seismic source
  • 22/2 OA procedure


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