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Three-dimensional dynamics of a pair of deformable bubbles rising initially in line. Part 1. Moderately inertial regimes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 June 2021

Jie Zhang
State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures, School of Aerospace, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, PR China
Ming-Jiu Ni*
State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures, School of Aerospace, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, PR China School of Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China
Jacques Magnaudet*
Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de Toulouse (IMFT), Université de Toulouse, CNRS, Toulouse, France
Email addresses for correspondence:,
Email addresses for correspondence:,


The buoyancy-driven motion of two identical gas bubbles released in line in a liquid at rest is examined with the help of highly resolved simulations, focusing on moderately inertial regimes in which the path of an isolated bubble is vertical. Assuming first an axisymmetric evolution, equilibrium configurations of the bubble pair are determined as a function of the buoyancy-to-viscous and buoyancy-to-capillary force ratios which define the Galilei ($Ga$) and Bond ($Bo$) numbers of the system, respectively. The three-dimensional solutions reveal that this axisymmetric equilibrium is actually never reached. Instead, provided $Bo$ stands below a critical $Ga$-dependent threshold determining the onset of coalescence, two markedly different evolutions are observed. At the lower end of the explored $(Ga, Bo)$-range, the tandem follows a drafting–kissing–tumbling scenario, which eventually yields a planar side-by-side motion. For larger $Ga$, the trailing bubble drifts laterally and gets out of the wake of the leading bubble, barely altering the path of the latter. In this second scenario, the late configuration is characterized by a significant inclination of the tandem ranging from $30^\circ$ to $40^\circ$ with respect to the vertical. Bubble deformation has a major influence on the evolution of the system. It controls the magnitude of vortical effects in the wake of the leading bubble, hence the strength of the attractive force acting on the trailing bubble. It also governs the strength and even the sign of the lateral force acting on this bubble, a mechanism of particular importance when the tandem is released with a small angular deviation.

JFM Papers
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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