Journal of Fluid Mechanics

The role of ‘splashing’ in the collapse of a laser-generated cavity near a rigid boundary

R. P. TONG a1, W. P. SCHIFFERS a2, S. J. SHAW a3, J. R. BLAKE a1 and D. C. EMMONY a2
a1 School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
a2 Department of Physics, University of Loughborough, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK
a3 Department of AAETS, University of Loughborough, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK


Vapour cavities in liquid flows have long been associated with cavitation damage to nearby solid surfaces and it is thought that the final stage of collapse, when a high- speed liquid jet threads the cavity, plays a vital role in this process. The present study investigates this aspect of the motion of laser-generated cavities in a quiescent liquid when the distance (or stand-off) of the point of inception from a rigid boundary is between 0.8 and 1.2 times the maximum radius of the cavity. Numerical simulations using a boundary integral method with an incompressible liquid impact model provide a framework for the interpretation of the experimental results. It is observed that, within the given interval of the stand-off parameter, the peak pressures measured on the boundary at the first collapse of a cavity attain a local minimum, while at the same time there is an increase in the duration of the pressure pulse. This contrasts with a monotonic increase in the peak pressures as the stand-off is reduced, when the cavity inception point is outside the stated interval. This phenomenon is shown to be due to a splash effect which follows the impact of the liquid jet. Three cases are chosen to typify the splash interaction with the free surface of the collapsing cavity: (i) surface reconnection around the liquid jet; (ii) splash impact at the base of the liquid jet; (iii) thin film splash. Hydrodynamic pressures generated following splash impact are found to be much greater than those produced by the jet impact. The combination of splash impact and the emission of shock waves, together with the subsequent re-expansion, drives the flow around the toroidal cavity producing a distinctive double pressure peak.

(Received June 3 1997)
(Revised October 2 1998)