The Influence of Marangoni Flow, Curvature Driven Drainage, and Volatility on the Lifetime of Surface Bubbles

  • Abdulrahman Aladsani

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This study investigates the factors that affect the lifetime and popping location of surface bubbles. The experiment was conducted using three different liquids (water, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, and Decane) with varying bubble sizes, using three different needle sizes. Each setup was tested 50 times. For pure water bubbles, the foot of the bubble is the most critical location because it typically has the highest temperature gradient, which creates a localized Marangoni flow that thins the film and eventually leads to the bubble bursting at the foot. When SDS was added to water, the bubble lifetime increased significantly. This is because the Marangoni stresses were reduced, and the bubble film thinned mainly due to curvature-driven drainage flow. The lifetime of the SDS bubble had a positive correlation with increasing bubble size. For Decane bubbles, the volatility of the liquid plays a significant role in the lifetime and popping location of the bubble. When the Decane was heated to 40°C, the lifetime of the bubbles increased significantly from 0-20 seconds to 8-12 minutes. This is because the high volatility of the Decane caused rapid evaporation of the bubble cap at the interface, which cooled the surface of the liquid. This temperature difference creates a difference in surface tension, which causes the liquid to flow from the bulk liquid into the apex of the bubble, thickening the cap film until it cools down. Then, it pops from the top due to the curvature-driven drainage.
Date of AwardAug 24 2023
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorTadd Truscott (Supervisor)


  • Marangoni flow
  • curvature-driven drainage
  • volatility
  • bubble lifetime
  • bubble popping
  • surfactants
  • Decane.

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