Time-dependent motion of a confined bubble in a tube: Transition between two steady states

Yingxian Estella Yu, Lailai Zhu, Suin Shim, Jens Eggers, Howard A. Stone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
236 Downloads (Pure)


When a confined bubble translates steadily in a cylindrical capillary tube, without the consideration of gravity effects, a uniform thin film of liquid separates the bubble surface and the tube wall. In this work, we investigate how this steady state is established by considering the transitional motion of the bubble as it adjusts its film thickness profile between two steady states, characterized by two different bubble speeds. During the transition, two uniform film regions coexist, separated by a step-like transitional region. The transitional motion also requires modification of the film solution near the rear of the bubble, which depends on the ratio of the two capillary numbers. These theoretical results are verified by experiments and numerical simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberR4
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date29 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2018


  • bubble dynamics
  • lubrication theory
  • thin films

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