Study on the bubble transport mechanism in an acoustic standing wave field

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★ Micro-bubbles can influence surface chemistry. ★ Ultrasonic transducer used to manipulate micro bubbles. ★ Micro bubbles can be successfully pushed onto substrates. ★ Presented model predictions match experimental observations.

The use of bubbles in applications such as surface chemistry, drug delivery, and ultrasonic cleaning etc. has been enormously popular in the past two decades. It has been recognized that acoustically-driven bubbles can be used to disturb the flow field near a boundary in order to accelerate physical or chemical reactions on the surface. The interactions between bubbles and a surface have been studied experimentally and analytically. However, most of the investigations focused on violently oscillating bubbles (also known as cavitation bubble), less attention has been given to understand the interactions between moderately oscillating bubbles and a boundary. Moreover, cavitation bubbles were normally generated in situ by a high intensity laser beam, little experimental work has been carried out to study the translational trajectory of a moderately oscillating bubble in an acoustic field and subsequent interactions with the surface. This paper describes the design of an ultrasonic test cell and explores the mechanism of bubble manipulation within the test cell. The test cell consists of a transducer, a liquid medium and a glass backing plate. The acoustic field within the multi-layered stack was designed in such a way that it was effectively one dimensional. This was then successfully simulated by a one dimensional network model. The model can accurately predict the impedance of the test cell as well as the mode shape (distribution of particle velocity and stress/pressure field) within the whole assembly. The mode shape of the stack was designed so that bubbles can be pushed from their injection point onto a backing glass plate. Bubble radial oscillation was simulated by a modified Keller–Miksis equation and bubble translational motion was derived from an equation obtained by applying Newton's second law to a bubble in a liquid medium. Results indicated that the bubble trajectory depends on the acoustic pressure amplitude and initial bubble size: an increase of pressure amplitude or a decrease of bubble size forces bubbles larger than their resonant size to arrive at the target plate at lower heights, while the trajectories of smaller bubbles are less influenced by these factors. The test cell is also suitable for testing the effects of drag force on the bubble motion and for studying the bubble behavior near a surface.

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