Satellite formation during bubble transition through an interface between immiscible liquids

Erqiang Li, S. A. Al-Otaibi, Ivan Uriev Vakarelski, Sigurdur T Thoroddsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


When a bubble rises to an interface between two immiscible liquids, it can pass through the interface, if this is energetically favourable, i.e. The bubble preferring the side of the interface with the lower air-liquid surface tension. Once the intermediate film between the bubble and the interface has drained sufficiently, the bubble makes contact with the interface, forming a triple-line and producing strong capillary waves which travel around the bubble and can pinch off a satellite on the opposite side, akin to the dynamics in the coalescence cascade. We identify the critical Ohnesorge numbers where such satellites are produced and characterize their sizes. The total transition time scales with the bubble size and differential surface tension, while the satellite pinch-off time scales with the capillary-inertial time of the pool liquid, which originally surrounds the bubble. We also use high-speed video imaging to study the motion of the neck of the contact. For low viscosity we show that it grows in time with a power-law exponent between 0.44 and 0.50, with a prefactor modified by the net sum of the three interfacial tensions. Increasing the viscosity of the receiving liquid drop drastically slows down the motion of the triple-line, when the Ohnesorge number exceeds ${\sim }$0.08. This differs qualitatively from the coalescence of two miscible drops of different viscosities, where the lower viscosity sets the coalescence speed. We thereby propose a strong resistance from the triple-line. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Mar 12 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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