Slug bubble growth and dissolution by solute exchange

Daniël P. Faasen*, Devaraj Van Der Meer, Detlef Lohse, Pablo Peñas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


In many environmental and industrial applications, the mass transfer of gases in liquid solvents is a fundamental process during the generation of bubbles for specific purposes or, vice versa, the removal of entrapped bubbles. We address the growth dynamics of a trapped slug bubble in a vertical glass cylinder under a water barrier. In the studied process, the ambient air atmosphere is replaced by a CO2 atmosphere at the same or higher pressure. The asymmetric exchange of the gaseous solutes between the CO2-rich water barrier and the air-rich bubble always results in net bubble growth. We refer to this process as solute exchange. The dominant transport of CO2 across the water barrier is driven by a combination of diffusion and convective dissolution. The experimental results are compared to and explained with a simple numerical model, with which the underlying mass transport processes are quantified. Analytical solutions that accurately predict the bubble growth dynamics are subsequently derived. The effect of convective dissolution across the water layer is treated as a reduction of the effective diffusion length, in accordance with the mass transfer scaling observed in laminar or natural convection. Finally, the binary water-bubble system is extended to a ternary water-bubble-alkane system. It is found that the alkane (n-hexadecane) layer bestows a buffering (hindering) effect on bubble growth and dissolution. The resulting growth dynamics and underlying fluxes are characterized theoretically.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113501
JournalPhysical review fluids
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2021


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