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Bubbles emerging from a submerged granular bed

  • J. A. MEIER (a1), J. S. JEWELL (a1), C. E. BRENNEN (a1) and J. IMBERGER (a2)

Abstract

This paper explores the phenomena associated with the emergence of gas bubbles from a submerged granular bed. While there are many natural and industrial applications, we focus on the particular circumstances and consequences associated with the emergence of methane bubbles from the beds of lakes and reservoirs since there are significant implications for the dynamics of lakes and reservoirs and for global warming. This paper describes an experimental study of the processes of bubble emergence from a granular bed. Two distinct emergence modes are identified, mode 1 being simply the percolation of small bubbles through the interstices of the bed, while mode 2 involves the cumulative growth of a larger bubble until its buoyancy overcomes the surface tension effects. We demonstrate the conditions dividing the two modes (primarily the grain size) and show that this accords with simple analytical evaluations. These observations are consistent with previous studies of the dynamics of bubbles within porous beds. The two emergence modes also induce quite different particle fluidization levels. The latter are measured and correlated with a diffusion model similar to that originally employed in river sedimentation models by Vanoni and others. Both the particle diffusivity and the particle flux at the surface of the granular bed are measured and compared with a simple analytical model. These mixing processes can be consider applicable not only to the grains themselves, but also to the nutrients and/or contaminants within the bed. In this respect they are shown to be much more powerful than other mixing processes (such as the turbulence in the benthic boundary layer) and could, therefore, play a dominant role in the dynamics of lakes and reservoirs.

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Corresponding author

Email address for correspondence: brennen@caltech.edu

References

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Bubbles emerging from a submerged granular bed

  • J. A. MEIER (a1), J. S. JEWELL (a1), C. E. BRENNEN (a1) and J. IMBERGER (a2)

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