The growth and collapse of a vapour bubble inside a microtube is studied both experimentally and theoretically. The length of the bubble, and the velocity and acceleration of its interface, are obtained from a high-speed image recording (typically 1.25 × 105 fps) for various energy inputs and two tube diameters. To understand the underlying dynamics of the system, two theoretical models are compared with experiment. A model based on a discontinuous time dependence of the vapour pressure inside the bubble is at variance with the data. It proves necessary to account in greater detail for the time dependence of the vapour pressure. A new model is proposed for this purpose which includes heat transfer in addition to inertia and viscous friction. Both the data and the model show that the vapour pressure decreases with time continuously instead of abruptly. The length, velocity and acceleration from the numerical simulations are found to be in good agreement with experimental data. Both the experiments and simulations clearly indicate that thermal effects play an important role throughout the whole growth and collapse process.
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