Recent observations of growing and collapsing bubbles in flows over axisymmetric headforms have revealed the complexity of the ‘micro-fluid-mechanics’ associated with these bubbles (van der Meulen & van Renesse 1989; Briancon-Marjollet et al. 1990; Ceccio & Brennen 1991). Among the complex features observed were the bubble-to-bubble and bubble-to-boundary-layer interactions which leads to the shearing of the underside of the bubble and alters the collapsing process. All of these previous tests, though, were performed on small headform sizes. The focus of this research is to analyse the scaling effects of these phenomena due to variations in model size, Reynolds number and cavitation number. For this purpose, cavitating flows over Schiebe headforms of different sizes (5.08, 25.4 and 50.8 cm in diameter) were studied in the David Taylor Large Cavitation Channel (LCC). The bubble dynamics captured using high-speed film and electrode sensors are presented along with the noise signals generated during the collapse of the cavities.
In the light of the complexity of the dynamics of the travelling bubbles and the important bubble/bubble interactions, it is clear that the spherical Rayleigh-Plesset analysis cannot reproduce many of the phenomena observed. For this purpose an unsteady numerical code was developed which uses travelling sources to model the interactions between the bubble (or bubbles) and the pressure gradients in the irrotational flow outside the boundary layer on the headform. The paper compares the results of this numerical code with the present experimental results and demonstrates good qualitative agreement between the two.
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