Experiments in Fluids

, 60:33 | Cite as

Detailed experiments on weakly deformed cavitation bubbles

  • Outi SupponenEmail author
  • Danail Obreschkow
  • Philippe Kobel
  • Nicolas Dorsaz
  • Mohamed Farhat
Research Article


We present high-precision experiments conducted with the aim to better characterise weak deformations of single cavitation bubbles. Using two needle hydrophones and a high-speed photodetector, we record the timings of shock waves and luminescence emitted at the collapse of laser-induced bubbles and are able to thereby obtain a precise measurement of their displacement during their lifetime. The bubbles are primarily deformed by variable gravity reached aboard parabolic flights, but we additionally take into account the effect of the nearest surfaces. A time shift of approximately 60 ns is found between the bubble lifetimes measured by the hydrophones and the photodetector for spherically collapsing bubbles, which we believe to be a result of different initial shock wave propagation speeds at the bubble’s generation and at collapse. The normalised bubble displacement is found to follow a \(\zeta ^{2/3}\) scaling law for \(\zeta>0.001\), where \(\zeta\) is the dimensionless anisotropy parameter quantifying the bubble deformation (analogous to Kelvin impulse). Additionally, we quantify the asymmetry of the shock wave generated at the collapse of bubbles with various levels of deformations by comparing the hydrophone signals at two different locations, and find significant variations between the shock peak pressures and energies at \(\zeta>0.001\). These results consolidate the suggestion to consider \(\zeta \sim 0.001\) as a practical limit between spherical and deformed bubbles. This limit is probably sensitive to the bubble’s initial sphericity, which is exceptionally high in our mirror-based aberration-free setup.

Graphical abstract



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grants no. 200020-144137 and P2ELP2-178206), the University of Western Australia Research Collaboration Award (PG12105206) obtained by D.O. and M.F., and the European Space Agency. They also thank Henry Hollenweger for his valuable assistance with the experiment and the parabolic flights.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory for Hydraulic MachinesÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.International Centre for Radio Astronomy ResearchUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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