October 13, 2017

Visualization of the wake behind a sliding bubble

  • Davis I.
  • Grennan K.
  • Meehan R.
  • Murray D.
  • Nolan K.

In this work, Schlieren measurements are presented for the wake of an air bubble sliding under a heated, inclined surface in quiescent water to provide new insights into the intricate sliding bubble wake structure and the associated convective cooling process. This is a two-phase flow configuration that is pertinent to thermal management solutions, where the fundamental flow physics have yet to be fully described. In this work, we present an experimental apparatus that enables high-quality Schlieren images for different bubble sizes and measurement planes. By combining these visualizations with an advanced bubble tracking technique, we can simultaneously quantify the symbiotic relationship that exists between the sliding bubble dynamics and its associated wake. An unstable, dynamic wake structure is revealed, consisting of multiple hairpin-shaped vortex structures interacting within the macroscopic area affected by the bubble. As vorticity is generated in the near wake, the bubble shape is observed to recoil and rebound. This also occurs normal to the surface and is particularly noticeable for larger bubble sizes, with a periodic ejection of material from the near wake corresponding to significant shape changes. These findings, along with their implications from a thermal management perspective, provide information on the rich dynamics of this natural flowthat cannot be obtained using alternate experimental techniques.

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