Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Numerical simulations of non-spherical bubble collapse


a1 Division of Engineering and Applied Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA


A high-order accurate shock- and interface-capturing scheme is used to simulate the collapse of a gas bubble in water. In order to better understand the damage caused by collapsing bubbles, the dynamics of the shock-induced and Rayleigh collapse of a bubble near a planar rigid surface and in a free field are analysed. Collapse times, bubble displacements, interfacial velocities and surface pressures are quantified as a function of the pressure ratio driving the collapse and of the initial bubble stand-off distance from the wall; these quantities are compared to the available theory and experiments and show good agreement with the data for both the bubble dynamics and the propagation of the shock emitted upon the collapse. Non-spherical collapse involves the formation of a re-entrant jet directed towards the wall or in the direction of propagation of the incoming shock. In shock-induced collapse, very high jet velocities can be achieved, and the finite time for shock propagation through the bubble may be non-negligible compared to the collapse time for the pressure ratios of interest. Several types of shock waves are generated during the collapse, including precursor and water-hammer shocks that arise from the re-entrant jet formation and its impact upon the distal side of the bubble, respectively. The water-hammer shock can generate very high pressures on the wall, far exceeding those from the incident shock. The potential damage to the neighbouring surface is quantified by measuring the wall pressure. The range of stand-off distances and the surface area for which amplification of the incident shock due to bubble collapse occurs is determined.

(Received September 10 2008)

(Revised January 25 2009)


c1 Present address: Center for Turbulence Research, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-3030, USA. Email address for correspondence: