Skip to main content

The acceleration of solid particles subjected to cavitation nucleation


The cavity–particle dynamics at cavitation inception on the surface of spherical particles suspended in water and exposed to a strong tensile stress wave is experimentally studied with high-speed photography. Particles, which serve as nucleation sites for cavitation bubbles, are set into a fast translatory motion during the explosive growth of the cavity. They reach velocities of ~40 ms−1 and even higher. When the volume growth of the cavity slows down, the particle detaches from the cavity through a process of neck-breaking, and the particle is shot away. The experimental observations are simulated with (i) a spherical cavity model and (ii) with an axisymmetric boundary element method (BEM). The input for both models is a pressure pulse, which is obtained from the observed radial cavity dynamics during an individual experiment. The model then allows us to calculate the resulting particle trajectory. The cavity shapes obtained from the BEM calculations compare well with the photographs until neck formation occurs. In several cases we observed inception at two or more locations on a single particle. Moreover, after collapse of the primary cavity, a second inception was often observed. Finally, an example is presented to demonstrate the potential application of the cavity–particle system as a particle cannon, e.g. in the context of drug delivery into tissue.

Hide All
Apfel R. E. 1970 The role of impurities in cavitation-threshold determination. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 48, 11791186.
Arora M., Ohl C. D. & Mørch K. A. 2004 Cavitation inception on microparticles: a self-propelled particle accelerator. Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 174501.
Arora M., Junge L. & Ohl C. D. 2005 Cavitation cluster dynamics in shock-wave lithotripsy: Part 1. Free field. Ultrasound Med. Biol. 31, 827839.
Arora M., Ohl C. D. & Lohse D. 2007 Effect of nuclei concentration on cavitation cluster dynamics. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 121, 34323436.
Atchley A. & Prosperetti A. 1989 The crevice model of bubble nucleation. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 86, 10651084.
Blake J. R. & Gibson D. C. 1987 Cavitation bubbles near boundaries. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech. 19, 99123.
Borkent B. M., Arora M. & Ohl C. D. 2007 Reproducible cavitation activity in water–particle suspensions. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 121, 14061412.
Bremond N., Arora M., Ohl C. D. & Lohse D. 2005 Cavitation on surfaces. J. Phys. Condensed Matter 17, S3603S3608.
Bremond N., Arora M., Ohl C. D. & Lohse D. 2006 a Controlled multibubble surface cavitation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 224501.
Bremond N., Arora M., Dammer S. M. & Lohse D. 2006 b Interaction of cavitation bubbles on a wall. Phys. Fluids 18, 121505.
Brennen C. E. 1995 Cavitation and bubble dynamics. Oxford University Press.
Brennen C. E. 2002 Fission of collapsing cavitation bubbles. J. Fluid Mech. 472, 153166.
Chin C. T., Lancèe C., Borsboom J., Mastik F., Frijink M. E., de Jong N., Versluis M. & Lohse D. 2003 Brandaris 128: A digital 25 million frames per second camera with 128 highly sensitive frames. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 74, 50265034.
Clift R., Grace J. R. & Weber M. E. 1978 Bubbles, Drops and Particles. Academic.
Crum L. A. 1979 Tensile strength of water, Nature 278, 148149.
Eller A. & Flynn H. G. 1963 Rectified diffusion during nonlinear pulsations of cavitation bubbles. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 37, 493503.
Epstein P. S. & Plesset M. S. 1950 On the stability of gas bubbles in liquid/gas solutions. J. Chem. Phys. 18, 15051509.
Gracewski S. M., Miao H. & Dalecki D. 2005 Ultrasonic excitation of a bubble near a rigid or deformable sphere: implications for ultrasonically induced hemolysis. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 117, 14401447.
Green J. L., Durben D. J., Wolf G. H. & Angell C. A. 1990 Water and solutions at negative pressure: Raman spectroscopy study to −80 megapascals. Science 249, 649652.
Greenspan M. & Tschiegg C. E. 1967 Radiation induced acoustic cavitation; apparatus and some results. J. Res. Natl Bur. Stand. C Engng Instrum. 71C, 299312.
Hamilton M. F., Ilinskii Y. A., Douglas Meegan G. & Zabolotskaya E. A. 2005 Interaction of bubbles in a cluster near a rigid surface. Acoust. Res. Lett. Online 6, 207213.
Harris P. J., 1993 A numerical method for predicting the motion of a bubble close to a moving rigid structure. Commun. Numer. Meth. Engng 9, 8186.
Harvey E. N., Barnes D. K., McElroy W. D. Whiteley A. H., Pease D. C. & Cooper K. W. 1944 Bubble formation in animals. J. Cell Comput. Physiol. 24, 122.
Hilgenfeldt S., Brenner M. P., Grossmann S. & Lohse D. 1998 Analysis of Rayleigh–Plesset dynamics for sonoluminescing bubbles. J. Fluid Mech. 365, 171204.
Holmberg M., Kühle A., Garnæs J., Boisen A. & Mørch K. A. 2003 Cavitation nuclei at water–gold interfaces. Fifth Intl Symp. Cavitation, Osaka, Japan, November 1–4, 2003.
Khoo B. C., Klaseboer E. & Hung K. C. 2005 A collapsing bubble-induced micro-pump using the jetting effect. Sensors Actuators A 118, 152161.
Klaseboer E., Turangan C., Fong S. W., Liu T. G., Hung K. C., Khoo B. C. 2006 Simulations of pressure pulse–bubble interaction using boundary element method. Comput. Meth. Appl. Engng 195, 42874302.
Klaseboer E., Fong S. W., Turangan C. K., Khoo B. C, Szeri A. J. Calvisi A. J., Sankin G. N. & Zhong P. 2007 Interaction of lithotripter shockwaves with single inertial cavitation bubbles. J. Fluid Mech. 593, 3356.
Lal M. K. & Menon S. 1996 Interaction of two underwater explosion bubbles. ASME Fluids Engng Div. Conf. 236, 595600.
Lamb H. 1932 Hydrodynamics, 6th edn. Cambridge University Press.
Liebler M. Dreyer T. & Riedlinger R. E. 2006 Nonlinear modelling of interactions between ultrasound propagation and cavitation bubbles. Acta Acust. 92, 165167.
Madadnia J. & Owen I. 1993 Accelerated surface erosion by cavitating particulate-laden flows. Wear 165, 113116.
Madadnia J. & Owen I. 1995 Erosion in conical diffusers in particulate-laden cavitating flow. Intl J. Multiphase Flow 21, 12531257.
Madanshetty S. I. 1995 A conceptual model for acoustic microcavitation. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 98, 26812689.
Marschall H., Mørch K. A., Keller A. P. & Kjeldsen M. 2003 Cavitation inception by almost spherical solid particles in water. Phys. Fluids 15, 545553.
Mørch K. A. 2000 Cavitation nuclei and bubble formation – a dynamic liquid–solid interface problem. Trans. ASME I: J. Fluids Engng 122, 494498.
Mørch K. A., 2007 Reflections on cavitation nuclei in water. Phys. Fluids, 19, 072104.
Pishchalnikov Y. A., Sapozhnikov O. A., Bailey M. R., Pishchalnikova I. V., Williams J. C. & McAteer J. A. 2005 Cavitation selectively reduces the negative-pressure phase of lithotripter shock pulses. Acoust. Res. Lett. Online 6, 280286.
Rungsiyaphornrat S., Klaseboer E., Khoo B. C. & Yeo K. S. 2003 The merging of two gaseous bubbles with an application to underwater explosions. Comput. Fluids 32, 10491074.
Sapozhnikov O. A., Khokhlova A., Bailey M. R., Williams J R., McAteer J. A., Cleveland R. O. & Crum L. A. 2002 Effect of overpressure and pulse repetition frequency on cavitation in shock wave lithotripsy. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 112, 11831195.
Soh W. K. & Willis B. 2003 A flow visualization study on the movement of solid particles propelled by a collapsing cavitation bubble. Exp. Therm. Fluid Sci. 27, 537544.
Tanguay M. & Colonius T. 2003 Progress in modeling and simulation of shock wave lithotripsy (SWL). Fifth Intl Symp. on Cavitation, Osaka, Japan, November 1–4, 2003.
Wang Q. X., Yeo K. S., Khoo B. C. & Lam K. Y. 1996 Strong interaction between a buoyancy bubble and a free surface Theoret. Comput. Fluid Dyn. 8, 7388.
Zheng Q., Durben D. J., Wolf G. H. & Angell C. A. 1991 Liquids at large negative pressures: water at the homogeneous nucleation limit. Science 254, 829832.
Zijlstra A. & Ohl C. D. 2008 On fiber optic probe hydrophone measurements in a cavitating liquid. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 123, 2932.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-fluid-mechanics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title

Borkent et al. supplementary movie
Movie 3. Particle injection into gelatin induced by cavitation, see figure 13. The water-gelatin interface is in the centre of the frames; a particle of radius ~50 μm is initially located in the water, touching the gelatin. This particle holds a cavitation nucleus that explodes, and it is shot into the gelatin. A second particle (radius about 40 μm) is accelerated from some distance and under an angle from below and also penetrates into the gelatin. The upper particle stays entrained after the cavitation activity has ceased whereas the lower particle is repelled from the elastic material. The number at the upper left states the time in microseconds.

 Video (5.3 MB)
5.3 MB

Borkent et al. supplementary movie
Movie 1. Example of a cavitation event on a particle and the successive dynamics, see figure 3. Initially an isolated particle is visible. A cavitation bubble expanding on the left side of the particle becomes visible and grows explosively. As the growth decelerates the particle moves away from the cavity and forms a neck which breaks. During the detachment process the cavity develops a mushroom shape, and collapses. Moreover, the volume centre of the cavity shifts slightly to the left. The re-expanding cavity obtains a funnel-like shape, which indicates that a liquid jet has developed during the cavity collapse. Then a second attached cavity on the particle becomes visible and grows in the following frames into a void of size comparable to that of the particle. Two additional out-of-focus cavitation events are recorded in this series, too. They are visible as blurry shadows in the upper right corner and the second cavitation event leads to a dark fuzzy object just below the in-focus cavity. The movie is taken at approximately 1 million frames/s. The number at the upper left states the time in microseconds.

 Video (6.0 MB)
6.0 MB

Borkent et al. supplementary movie
Movie 2. Experiment demonstrating that a particle being exposed twice to a shock wave can nucleate a cavitation bubble on its surface in both events, see figure 5. Here, a tensile stress wave excites cavitation at t=0 and at t=200 μs. The trajectory of the particle is indicated in the last frame (t=451 μs) with the dashed black line. Note the different directions of motion set up at the successive cavitation events. The frame rate of the movie is 220.000 frames/s. The number at the upper left states the time in microseconds.

 Video (10.2 MB)
10.2 MB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 86 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 351 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.