The present study aims at documenting, making use of an original set-up allowing to acquire well-converged data, the coarsening of foams in two dimensions. Experiments show that a foam behaves quite differently depending on the way it has been prepared. We distinguish between an initially quasi-monodisperse foam and a polydisperse foam. The coarsening laws are initially different, although both foams reach a common, time-dependent asymptotic regime.
The ageing process relies on exchanges between adjacent foam cells (von Neumann's law), and on topological rearrangement (1 and 2 processes) whose rates are measured in all regimes. We attempt to make their contribution to the evolution of the area S and facet number n distribution of probability P(S, n, t) quantitative. The corresponding mean field theory predictions represent well the phenomenon qualitatively, and are sometimes in quantitative agreement with the measurements. A simplified version of this theory, taking the form of a Langevin model, explains in a straightforward manner the different scaling laws in the different regimes, for the different foams.