Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 11




Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65-75

Cavitation bubble dynamics

Werner Lauterborn *, Claus-Dieter Ohl
Drittes Physikalisches Institut, Universitiit Gdttingen, D-37073 GOttingen, Germany
Received 7 November 1996

The dynamics of cavitation bubbles on water is investigated for bubbles produced optically and acoustically. Single bubble dynamics is studied with laser produced bubbles and high speed photography with framing rates up to 20.8 million frames per second. Examples for jet formation and shock wave emission are given. Acoustic cavitation is produced in water in the interior of piezoelectric cylinders of different sizes (up to 12 cm inner diameter). The filementary structure composed of bubbles is investigated and their light emission (sonoluminescence) studied for various driving strengths. 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.

Keywords: Cavitation; Bubble dynamics; Sonoluminescence; Shock waves; High speed photography

I. Introduction
Cavitation is the name given to the phenomenon of the rupture of liquids and the effects connected with the motion of the cavities thus generated [1-8]. Cavitation can be initiated by either setting up a tension in the liquid or by depositing energy into it (Fig. 1). Tension appears in fluid flow, such as with ship propellers, hydrofoils, pipes and pumps. It also occurs in sound fields in the underpressure cycle of the sound wave, such as in shock wave lithotripsy and sonochemistry. Local deposition of energy is brought about by heat transfer in pipes or by dumping hot bodies into liquids (giving rise to eventually explosive bubble growth). Not only sound, but also light can cause cavitation by dielectrically breaking down the liquid or heating up absorbing impurities fast. This effect is used in eye surgery and for the study of the dynamics of cavitation bubbles.

Elementary particles leave energy when crossing liquids giving rise to bubble formation as seen in the bubble chamber. Cavitation is accompanied by a number of effects having their origin in the dynamics of the bubbles generated. Cavitation bubbles tend to collapse exceedingly fast, emitting shock waves and even light (sonoluminescence). They erode solid surfaces and induce chemical reactions.

2. Spherical bubble dynamics

In acoustic cavitation many bubbles usually appear simultaneously and influence each other. To investigate the dynamics of a single bubble without interaction from neighbouring bubbles, the method of optic cavitation, whereby a short pulse of laser light is focussed into the liquid, has proven useful. Fig. 2 shows an experimental arrangement for photographing laser-produced bubbles at high speed and to record the sound (shock) waves emitted. The Q-switched pulse of a ruby or Nd:YAG laser (pulse width, for instance, 8 ns, energy per pulse around 10 m J) is focussed into a cuvette filled with water to produce a single bubble by tight focussing with aberration-minimized lenses. The bubble produced is photographed with either a high-speed image converter camera to resolve the fast collapse and rebound phase or with other framing cameras, for instance a rotating drum or rotating mirror camera for observing

Cavitation [

I tension I

I energy ,ocol depos t

Fig. 1. Classification scheme for the different types of cavitation. * Corresponding author. Fax: + 49-551-397720 1350-4177/97/$17.00 1997 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

PH S 1 3 5 0 - 4 1 7 7 ( 9 7 ) 0 0 0 0 9 - 6


V~ Lauterborn, C-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65-75

I transient recorder I trigger hydrophone

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

flashlamp groundglass plate cuvettewith water

pulselaser/ lenses ~


Fig. 2. Experimentalarrangement for producing single bubbles. the whole life cycle of the bubble from generation to the decaying oscillations. Fig. 3 gives an example of a spherical bubble in silicone oil and its subsequent oscillations taken at 50 000 frames per second with a rotating drum camera. Time runs from top to bottom. The series starts with the bright spot of the laser light from the breakdown site (and a reflex). A hot plasma is generated that expands forming a bubble. The bubble is seen as a dark disk because the illuminating backlight is deflected off the bubble wall and does not reach the camera. Work is done during the expansion of the bubble against the ambient pressure that stops the expansion at some maximum radius. From there the bubble starts to collapse, whereby the bubble contents (gas and vapour) are compressed. Therefore, the bubble rebounds to start its next cycle of expansion and collapse. Four cycles are recorded in Fig. 3. Due to the ever-present damping, in this case mainly viscosity and sound radiation, decaying oscillations are observed. As can be seen, the collapse of the bubble is a very fast process. It can only be resolved at higher framing rates - very high framing rates. Fig. 4 gives an example of a photographic series taken at 20.8 million frames per second with an image converter camera of a nearly spherical collapse of a laser produced bubble in water. As the maximum number of frames per shot is only eight, four different shots have been combined to one series. This is possible due to the excellent reproducibility of the bubble size. With this high framing rate the shock wave radiated upon collapse is easily catched. One single shock wave is observed. A similar shock wave is radiated during breakdown and smaller ones are radiated during the subsequent collapses of the bubble.

3. Jet formation
When a bubble is collapsing in a not spherically symmetric environment the collapse changes in a Fig. 3. Dynamics of a spherical, laser produced bubble in silicone oil taken at 50 000 frames per second. Maximum bubble radius is about 1.5 mm.

W. Lauterborn, C.-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65-75


Fig. 4. Collapse of a laser produced spherical bubble in water far from boundaries taken at 20.8 million frames per second (48 ns interframe time). Picture size is 1.5 x 1.8 mm.

Fig. 5. Bubble dynmaics near a flat solid boundary taken at 75 000 flames per second. Frame size is about 7.2 x 4.6 mm, the maximum bubble radius is 2.0 mm and the distance of the bubble center at maximum from the boundary is d= 4.9 mm. Fig. 5 shows a high-speed p h o t o g r a p h i c series of a b u b b l e collapsing in water near a flat solid wall, t a k e n at 75 000 frames per second with a r o t a t i n g m i r r o r camera. The jet is m o s t visible in the first r e b o u n d phase as the dark line inside the bright central spot of the b u b b l e where the backlight can pass u n d i s t u r b e d

r e m a r k a b l e way. A flat solid surface n e a r b y causes the b u b b l e to involute from the top (surface below the b u b b l e ) a n d to develop a high-speed liquid jet towards this solid surface. W h e n the jet hits the opposite b u b b l e wall from the inside it pushes the b u b b l e wall ahead causing a funnel shaped p r o t r u s i o n with the jet inside.


W. Lauterborn, C.-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65 75

Fig. 6. Enlargement of a bubble with its jet.

through the smooth surface of the bubble. The funnel shaped protrusion downwards is the elongated bubble wall containing the jet that drives the elongation until its energy is used up. Then the long tube of gas and vapour becomes unstable and decays into m a n y tiny bubbles. The main bubble surface snaps back to its former locally spherical shape. Fig. 6 is an enlargement of a bubble with a jet and its protrusion pointing to the solid boundary. Shock wave radiation is much more involved when jet formation occurs. There are usually at least three shock waves radiated, two from the jet and the third (or more) when the bubble attains its minimum (or near

minimum) shape. This is documented in Fig. 7 where a sequence of a collapsing bubble with jet formation has been taken at 20.8 million frames per second with an image converter camera. The m a x i m u m bubble radius Rma x is 1.29 m m attained about 90 lam before the first picture starts. The normalized distance 7 = R,,ax/d to the boundary is 1' = 2.4, where d is the distance of the bubble centre at maximum radius to the boundary. The first shock wave is radiated when the jet hits the (inside moving) opposite wall of the bubble from its interior. The jet is so broad at its 'tip' that it contacts the lower bubble wall at a ring above the lowest point, giving rise to a torus-like shock wave. This 'jet torus shock wave'

W. Lauterborn, C.-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65-75


Fig. 7. Collapse of a bubble near a solid boundary (outside below each frame) taken at 20.8 million frames per second. Maximum bubble size is 1.29 ram. Relative distance to the boundary is ? =2.4. Radiation of three shock waves: jet torus shock wave (frames 8, 9, 10), tip bubble shock wave (frames 10 and onwards), and main bubble shock wave (frames 13 and onwards). Picture size is 2.0 x 1.4 ram.

later combines to a single outgoing shock wave as the shock torus must close u p o n expansion. The jet torus shock thereby surrounds the bubble, becomes very weak and soon ceases to be seen in the frames. The toms-like shock wave f r o m the jet implies that, in addition to the bubble becoming a torus by the jet impact, a separate tiny bubble ('tip bubble') must be created between the jet tip' and the curved lower bubble surface. This bubble will be compressed further by the jet and the ongoing bubble collapse giving rise to a second shock wave to be seen in frame 10 o f Fig. 7 and in the subsequent frames. This 'tip bubble shock wave' definitely emanates from the lower bubble wall as seen by the asymmetric propagation in relation to the bubble shape. The collapse of the tip bubble is m u c h faster than the collapse of the main bubble and gives rise to the conjecture that it m a y

be the violent compression of this part o f the main bubble that is responsible for sonoluminescence (see Section 5). In shock collapsed cylindrical bubbles in gelatine this indeed has been observed in Ref. [9]. In frame 13 the bubble is at or near its m i n i m u m volume and emits a third shock wave seen detaching from the bubble in the subsequent frames. The collapse o f the main bubble is thus the latest in this series o f shock waves. The main bubble collapses in the form o f a torus whose stability u p o n collapse m a y be questioned. Thus, several shock waves m a y emanate from the bubble torus. The b r o a d shock 'front' seen in the last row o f Fig. 7 is an indication that this in fact m a y have happened. The protrusion sticking upwards out o f the bubble (see the last frames o f Fig. 7), formerly called counterjet by us, is presumably the result o f microcavitation inside the


I/E Lauterborn, C.-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65 75


tension waves. These waves are assumed to produce cavitation inside the jet. Therefore, almost no outgoing shock is seen above the bubble that actually has the shape of a torus after the jet has hit the bubble from its interior. This complex series of events is typical for the asymmetrical collapse of a bubble with jet formation.

I I.


-"IV ~hottow

--J----Liquidfitted cytinderof
piezoetedric moteriat

4. Acoustic cavitation

I I ~ , = ~ ~ ~

Fig. 8. Cylindrical transducer of piezoelectricmaterial to cavitate a liquid in its interior. jet. The jet shock waves not only propagate into the liquid below the bubble, but also backwards through the jet. Thereby they are reflected off the jet wall as

Acoustic cavitation can be produced in a variety of ways, such as with a vibrating 'horn' dipping into a liquid or by vibrating the walls of a container. We used a hollow cylinder of piezoelectric material submerged in the liquid to be cavitated (Fig. 8). The cylinder had a length and inner diameter of 76 mm and a wall thickness of 5 mm. The resonance frequency for half a wavelength across the diameter of the cylinder was about 23 kHz, slightly dependent on the container and the water height above the cylinder. When the cylinder was driven at this frequency (fundamental resonance), the maximum sound pressure and tension occurred at the centre of

Fig. 9. Filamentary structure of bubbles in sonicallyinduced caviation. (Courtesy of A. Billo).

W. Lauterborn, C.-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65-75



Fig. 10. Forced oscillations of a filamentary structure of cavitation bubbles in water inside a cylindrical piezoelectric transducer dirven at 13 kHz. Framing rate is 200 000 frames per second.

the cylinder. A second cylinder in use had a length of 45.5 m m and an inner radius of 57 m m and was coated for cavitation resistence. Besides simply submerging the transducer into water, it was also used with P M M A plates closing it at both ends and filled with water. In the latter configuration, the water could be cavitated between 8 and 18 kHz. Beyond a certain threshold of the driving voltage applied to the cylinder a hissing noise was heard and bubbles danced around in the liquid. These bubbles

form a branched structure 'streamers') also called acoustic Lichtenberg figures by us in reminiscence of the electric Lichtenberg figures. A h o m o g e n e o u s cloud of bubbles was not observed on any occasion; the bubbles always organized themselves into filaments. Fig. 9 shows an example of this filamentary structure. Obviously, a homogeneous distribution of bubbles in the presence of a strong sound field is unstable. This can also be shown theoretically. The pattern formed seems to be unstable as it is steadily rearranging on a


l~ Lauterborn, C-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65 75

Fig. 11. Nonlinear bubble oscillation in the sound field in a cavltating liquid (water).

human time scale, although it is stable over at least hundreds of cycles of the driving sound field. The processes in the bubble cloud are very complex due to competing influences made up of attracting and repelling forces and due to the thousands of tiny interacting bubbles. The filamentary structure oscillates with the driving sound field, i.e. the bubbles collapse every cycle. This can be seen in Fig. 10, which has been taken at 200 000 frames per second with a rotating mirror camera. The frequency of the driving sound field is 13 kHz and slightly more than one cycle of the driving is covered by these twenty frames. The disappearance and reappearance of the complex filamentary structure is remarkable pointing to a tightly coupled bubble system. The bubbles in acoustic cavitation oscillate non-linearly as photographs reveal. Fig. 11 shows a sequence

of the bubble cluster in the centre where the streamers converge, taken at 100 000 frames per second. A good fit to the oscillation can be obtained with a bubble having a radius, at rest, of Rn=248 ~tm driven at a sound pressure amplitude Ofpa = 0.323 bar at the experimentally given driving frequency of v = 1 2 . 9 6 k H z . Fig. 12 shows the result of a calculation with the Rayleigh Plesset model where the diamonds are from the experiment.

5. Sonoluminescence

When the cavitation bubble field is observed in total darkness with a dark-adapted eye (after 15-20min), light can be seen emanating from the liquid, often in the form of filaments. As the primary input is sound,

V~ Lauterborn, C-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65 75





vi/i/i/i/i/i l
I I I I I | I


PR = g . 3 2 3 B = 12.960

PO = 1 . O N e BAR
BAR, Tg = ;76.68 / - ~ E C , P = g . O 1 e P O I g E KHZ. v / v g = 0.99382 , K = 1.k-g

RN = 2~-8.05i~ M't, vO = 13.0~-1 KHZ.O' = 7 2 . 5 0 Y N / C t t




f ~ 1 15~.? ' ' 2 3 1 '. 5 ' '31,-7'.2 ' ' ~.63.0 TIME [ PSECI


Fig. 12. Nonlinear bubble oscillation in a sound field in a cavitating liquid (water). Upper diagram: driving sound pressure,pa =0.323 bar. Lower diagram: comparison of experiment (diamonds) with theory (solid line). Different bubble than given in the previous figure.

the phenomenon is called sonoluminescence. The faint light emitted can be photographed with a CCD-camera equipped with a micro-channel plate as 'light intensifier' (ICCD=intensified CCD). Fig. 13 shows an image of the interior of a piezoelectric cylinder (this time of diameter 6.5 cm, length 13 cm) driven at 20 kHz as it appears in its own emitted light. Again, a filamentary structure is seen. Moreover, it has been found that light is only emitted in a small window of the driving phase comprising 1/12 the period of the driving. This confirms the highly concerted action of all bubbles as seen in Fig. 10. It has already been established (long ago) that the light is emitted from the bubbles in their collapsed state and that it must come from bubbles in the approximate radius size range 0.8-2 gm. A certain minimum sound pressure amplitude is needed for the filamentary structure to appear. However, it has been found that there is also an upper threshold where the filaments cease to exist and light is emitted from just one centre. Fig. 14 shows this bifurcation or phase change in the bubble structure in a sequence of luminescence images that appear at different voltages applied to the cylinder, the light being integrated over many seconds. The luminescence starts localized (here at 180V). Soon filaments form at higher voltages (190 V, 195 V) and a large area of the liquid is involved

Fig. 13. The light output of a liquid insonified at 20 kHz taken with an ICCD camera: a luminescence image.

74 17 SV

W. Lauterborn, C-D. Ohl / UltrasonicsSonochemistry 4 (1997) 65 75


2 ~ =,':

Fig. 14. Integrated luminescenceimages at differentdriving voltages. Frame size is 3.4 x 3.7 cm. in the light emission. At still higher driving, the emission shrinks to a single stable emission centre (200 V). This centre starts to move around in the liquid (210 V) giving the integrated appearance of a large quite-unstructured emission region. Below, in Fig. 15, time-resolved measurements are given to underpin this interpretation. At still higher driving, the emission centre splits up into two and again a richer structure appears (220 V, 230 V). This sequence has been obtained reproducibly, whereby changes in the actual values of the voltages may occur. Noteworthy is the appearance of a single stable emission centre and its motion at higher driving. Fig. 15 shows time-resolved images of the dancing emission centre. A possible explanation relates to the strong nonlinearity of the bubble oscillation. It has been found that a small bubble can be kept stable in the pressure antinode only in the case of not too large non-linearity in the oscillation of the bubble, otherwise the attracting primary Bjerknes force becomes repelling and the bubble becomes positionally unstable. Thus, the bubble has to leave the high pressure region. When it does so, it experiences a lower amplitude of the driving and also lowers its oscillation amplitude. The repelling force then ceases. In a rotationally symmetric system, the bubble would settle somewhere away from the maximum sound pressure on some surface, being free to move along it upon slight additional disturbances. That way, the seemingly irregular motion observed in Fig. 15 may be explained.

6. Summary
The dynamics of bubbles in liquids has been investigated. Violent processes take place in the collapse of bubbles manifesting themselves in the emission of shock

W. Lauterborn, C.-D. Ohl / Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 4 (1997) 65-75


Fig. 15. Luminesenceimages in the course of time in the dancing bubble regime. waves and light. Single bubble dynamics has been studied with laser produced bubbles and high-speed photography. Detailed results on bubble collapse and shock wave emission could be obtained. Asymmetric bubble collapse results in the emission of (normally) three shock waves: two which are jet induced and one induced by bubble compression. The two jet-induced shock waves combine into one in the case where the curvature of the jet tip is higher than the curvature of the bubble wall that is hit. This happens for ~ smaller than about two and larger than about 1.2. Bubbles appearing in the process of acoustic cavitation assemble themselves into filamentary structures that breeze in the rhythm of the driving (Fig. 10) and radiate light (Fig. 13). From the single bubble studies it can be conjectured that also in the case of acoustic cavitation with many bubbles the individual bubble collapse will be similarly fast and often resemble that shown in Fig. 5, as a bubble nearby another one corresponds to an induced asymmetry similar to that of a solid boundary. Thus, highly involved processes can be expected to occur in a bubble cloud as given in Fig. 9. It is conjectured that these processes will play a role in sonochemistry. effort over a long time collected most of the results reported here. Special thanks go to R. Blatt for loan of the I C C D camera to photograph the light emitted by the bubbles. The work has been sponsored by the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Mtinchen, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn.

[ 1] C.E. Brennen, Cavitation and Bubble Dynamics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995. [2] T.G. Leighton, The Acoustic Bubble, Academic Press, London, 1994. [3] J.R. Blake, J.M. Boulton-Stone, N.H. Thomas (Eds.), Bubble Dynamics and Interface Phenomena, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1994. [4] F.R. Young, Cavitation, McGraw-Hill, London, 1989. [5] K.S. Suslick (Ed.), Ultrasound: Its Chemical, Physicaland Biological Effects, VCH, New York, 1988. [6] L. van Wijngaarden (Ed.), Mechanics and Physics of Bubbles in Liquids, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1982. [7] W. Lauterborn (Ed.), Cavitation and Inhomogeneities in Underwater Acoustics, Springer, Berlin, 1980. [8] L.A. Crum, Phys. Today 47 (1994) 22. [9] N.K. Bourne, J.E. Field, J. Fluid Mech. 244 (1992) 225.

We thank the Nonlinear Dynamics and Cavitation groups at G6ttingen and Darmstadt that in a combined