Research

Blowing Vortex Rings from Bubbles

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When bubbles burst, we often pay attention to the retracting film and forming droplets, but what happens to the air that was inside? By placing a little smoke inside them, we can see. The air inside these bubbles is slightly pressurized compared to the ambient, and as such a bubble ruptures, its air gets pushed out the expanding hole. That momentum makes the air curl as it forces its way into the surrounding air, creating a stack of vortex rings. The researchers observed as many as six stacked vortices from bubbles just under 4 cm in diameter. (Image and research credit: A. Dasouqi and D. Murphy; video credit: Science; see also A. Dasouqi and D. Murphy)

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