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An experimental study of chaotic behavior of bubbles in liquid columns

P. Chakka

The dynamics of a single column of rising air bubbles was experimentally investigated. Bubble behavior was studied for three different liquids, glycerine, karo syrup, and water, with most attention focused on glycerine. Growth and detachment of bubbles from a nozzle at the column bottom produced pressure fluctuations in the air supply line that were detected with a pressure transducer. Upward motion of bubbles in the column was also measured by deflection of laser beams passing through the liquid.

Analyses of the pressure and laser intensity signals demonstrate that the bubbles exhibit increasingly complex dynamics as the rate of gas flow is increased. It appears that bubble-to-bubble interactions lead to a sequence of period-doubling bifurcations progressing from simple periodicity to deterministic chaos.

The observed bubble dynamics have significant similarities with the previously reported dynamics for liquid drops in air (i.e., the dripping faucet experiment). There is also good qualtitative agreement between the observed dynamics for glycerine and karo syrup and that produced by the Daw-Halow bubble model.


Chakka P (1994). An experimental study of chaotic behavior of bubbles in liquid columns. M.S. Thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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