Experiments in Fluids

, 55:1773 | Cite as

Frictional drag reduction by bubble injection

Review Article


The injection of gas bubbles into a turbulent boundary layer of a liquid phase has multiple different impacts on the original flow structure. Frictional drag reduction is a phenomenon resulting from their combined effects. This explains why a number of different void–drag reduction relationships have been reported to date, while early works pursued a simple universal mechanism. In the last 15 years, a series of precisely designed experimentations has led to the conclusion that the frictional drag reduction by bubble injection has multiple manifestations dependent on bubble size and flow speed. The phenomena are classified into several regimes of two-phase interaction mechanisms. Each regime has inherent physics of bubbly liquid, highlighted by keywords such as bubbly mixture rheology, the spectral response of bubbles in turbulence, buoyancy-dominated bubble behavior, and gas cavity breakup. Among the regimes, bubbles in some selected situations lose the drag reduction effect owing to extra momentum transfer promoted by their active motions. This separates engineers into two communities: those studying small bubbles for high-speed flow applications and those studying large bubbles for low-speed flow applications. This article reviews the roles of bubbles in drag reduction, which have been revealed from fundamental studies of simplified flow geometries and from development of measurement techniques that resolve the inner layer structure of bubble-mixed turbulent boundary layers.


Turbulent Boundary Layer Void Fraction Drag Reduction Bubble Size Bubbly Flow 



The author would like to thank Prof. Koichi Hishida and Dr. Yoshihiko Oishi for their assistance in preparing this manuscript, and also Prof. Hiroharu Kato and Dr. Yuji Tasaka for their long support relating to this topic. The work of the author’s group in the manuscript was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Japan, a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI Grant Numbers 24246033 and 21360077), and also financially supported by the New Energy Development Organization, Japan (NEDO Project Number 08B36002d). The author expresses thanks for this support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Flow Control, Division of Energy and Environmental Systems, Faculty of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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