Surface bubble coalescence

Daniel B. Shaw, Luc Deike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We present an experimental study of bubble coalescence at an air-water interface and characterize the evolution of both the underwater neck and the surface bridge. We explore a wide range of Bond number, which compares gravity and capillary forces and is a dimensionless measure of the free surface's effect on bubble geometry. The nearly spherical bubbles exhibit the same inertial-capillary growth of the classic underwater dynamics, with limited upper surface displacement. For 1$]]>, the bubbles are non-spherical-residing predominantly above the free surface-and, while an inertial-capillary scaling for the underwater neck growth is still observed, the controlling length scale is defined by the curvature of the bubbles near their contact region. With it, an inertial-capillary scaling collapses the neck contours across all Bond numbers to a universal shape. Finally, we characterize the upper surface with a simple oscillatory model which balances capillary forces and the inertia of liquid trapped at the centre of the liquid-film surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA105
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • breakup/coalescence
  • bubble dynamics
  • capillary waves


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