Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Coupled pulsation and translation of two gas bubbles in a liquid

a1 Department of Mathematics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
a2 Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA


We present and analyse a model for the spherical pulsations and translational motions of a pair of interacting gas bubbles in an incompressible liquid. The model is derived rigorously in the context of potential flow theory and contains all terms up to and including fourth order in the inverse separation distance between the bubbles. We use this model to study the cases of both weak and moderate applied acoustic forcing. For weak acoustic forcing, the radial pulsations of the bubbles are weakly coupled, which allows us to obtain a nonlinear time-averaged model for the relative distance between the bubbles. The two parameters of the time-averaged model classify four different dynamical regimes of relative translational motion, two of which correspond to the attraction and repulsion of classical secondary Bjerknes theory. Also predicted is a pattern in which the bubbles exhibit stable, time-periodic translational oscillations along the line connecting their centres, and another pattern in which there is an unstable separation distance such that bubble pairs can either attract or repel each other depending on whether their initial separation distance is smaller or larger than this value. Moreover, it is shown that the full governing equations possess the dynamics predicted by the time-averaged model. We also study the case of moderate-amplitude acoustic forcing, in which the bubble pulsations are more strongly coupled to each other and bubble translation also affects the radial pulsations. Here, radial harmonics and nonlinear phase shifting play a significant role, as bubble pairs near resonances are observed to translate in patterns opposite to those predicted by classical secondary Bjerknes theory. In this work, dynamical systems techniques and the method of averaging are the primary mathematical methods that are employed.

(Received December 23 2000)
(Revised May 25 2001)


1 Also a member of the Center for BioDynamics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.