The interaction of multiple bubbles in a Hele-Shaw channel

J. S. Keeler, Antoine Gaillard, Jack Lawless, Alice Thompson, Anne Juel, Andrew Hazel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the dynamics of two air bubbles driven by the motion of a suspending viscous fluid in a Hele-Shaw channel with a small elevation along its centreline via physical experiment and numerical simulation of a depth-averagedmodel. For a single-bubble systemwe establish that, in general, bubble propagation speed monotonically increases with bubble volume so that two bubbles of different sizes, in the absence of any hydrodynamic interactions, will either coalesce or separate in a finite time. However our experiments indicate that the bubbles interact and that an unstable two-bubble state is responsible for the eventual dynamical outcome: coalescence or separation. These results motivate us to develop an edge-tracking routine and calculate these weakly unstable two-bubble steady states from the governing equations. The steady states consist of pairs of ‘aligned’ bubbles that appear on the same side of the centreline with the larger bubble leading. We also discover, through time-dependent simulations and physical experiment, another class of two-bubble states that, surprisingly, are stable. In contrast to the ‘aligned’ steady states, these bubbles appear on either side of the centreline and are ‘offset’ from each other. We calculate the bifurcation structures of both classes of steady states as the flow-rate and bubble volume ratio is varied. We find that they exhibit intriguing similarities to the single-bubble bifurcation structure, which has implications for the existence of =-bubble steady states.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Jul 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'The interaction of multiple bubbles in a Hele-Shaw channel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this