Visualization of acoustic cavitation effects on suspended calcite crystals

R. M. Wagterveld*, L. Boels, M. J. Mayer, Geert-Jan Witkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The acoustic cavitation (42,080Hz, 7.1Wcm-2 or 17W) effects on suspended calcite crystals, sized between 5 and 50μm, have been visualized for the first time using high speed photography. High speed recordings with a duration of 1s containing up to 300,000 frames per second, revealed the effect of cluster and streamer cavitation on several calcite crystals. Cavitation clusters, evolved from cavitation inception and collapse, caused attrition, disruption of aggregates and deagglomeration, whereas streamer cavitation was observed to cause deagglomeration only. Cavitation on the surface gave the crystals momentum. However, it is shown that breakage of accelerated crystals by interparticle collisions is unrealistic because of their small sizes and low velocities. Crystals that were accelerated by bubble expansion, subsequently experienced a deceleration much stronger than expected from drag forces, upon bubble collapse. Experiments with pre-dried crystals seemed to support the current theory on bubble nucleation through the presence of pre-existing gas pockets. However, experiments with fully wetted crystals also showed the nucleation of bubbles on the crystal surface. Although microjet impingement on the crystal surface could not be directly visualized with high speed photography, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis of irradiated calcite seeds showed deep circular indentations. It was suggested that these indentations might be caused by shockwave induced jet impingement. Furthermore, the appearance of voluminous fragments with large planes of fracture indicated that acoustic cavitation can also cause the breakage of single crystal structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-225
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Breakage
  • Cavitation
  • High speed photography
  • Particle
  • Sonocrystallization
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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