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Analytical studies of steady and non-steady motions of a bubbly liquid


Symington, William Allan (1978) Analytical studies of steady and non-steady motions of a bubbly liquid. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/0ENX-DE36.


A consistent set of continuum-like equations which describe, under certain limitations, the flow of bubbly gas-liquid mixtures is developed. These equations are then applied in the solution of a few problems that bear on technological issues of nuclear reactor safety. The solutions of these problems illustrate the importance of the ratio between the viscous relaxation time of the bubbles and the characteristic time of the flow, in scaling experimental results.

The choked flow of a bubbly mixture through a contraction in a one dimensional duct is treated. It is found that in many cases the ratio of the contraction residence time to the viscous relaxation time is small, indicating the motion of the bubbles will be dictated largely by the dynamic forces on them. The one-dimensional equations are solved approximately for small values of this ratio.

A rudimentary experiment on choked bubbly flow through a contraction was conducted using a contraction with gradual changes in area, making the experimental situation amenable to a one-dimensional analysis. Pressures and mass flow rates of liquid and gas were measured. The results compare favorably with theoretical calculations.

The rise through a liquid of a uniform cloud of bubbles is also analyzed. Self-preserving wave solutions of the non-linear equations are found to exist. They have the form of transitions between a region of high void fraction below and a region of lower void fraction above. These waves are unstable to small disturbances, so when they are created they will steepen, developing into clumps of bubbles above which are regions of low void fraction. The fact that the bubbles in these clumps may coalesce presents a mechanism for a change in flow regime from bubbly to some other, perhaps slug or annular flow. The effect of bubble-bubble interactions in impeding the formation of these clumps is speculated upon. Finally, the flow of a bubbly mixture over a wavy wall is analyzed. The solution illustrates that the effect of interactions between bubbles and solid boundaries is lacking in our formalism. It is concluded that more work is required in the area of interactions, both of the bubble-bubble and bubble-boundary varieties.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Engineering and Applied Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Marble, Frank E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:22 May 1978
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-08172005-082759
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3154
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:17 Aug 2005
Last Modified:20 Dec 2019 19:20

Thesis Files

PDF (Symington_WA_1978.pdf) - Final Version
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