Indexed on: 02 Dec '09Published on: 02 Dec '09Published in: Langmuir
Gas bubbles coalesce in deionized (DI) water because the water (foam) films between the bubbles are not stable. The so-called hydrophobic attraction has been suggested as the cause of the film instability and the bubble coalescence. In this work, microinterferometry experiments show that foam films of ultrapure DI water can last up to 10 s and the contact time between the two gas bubble surfaces at close proximity (approximately 1 microm separation distance) significantly influences the film drainage, rupture, and lifetime. Specifically, when the two bubbles were first brought into contact, the films instantly ruptured at 0.5 microm thickness. However, the film drainage rate and rupture thickness sharply decreased and the film lifetime steeply increased with increasing contact time up to 10 min, but then they leveled off. The constant thickness of film rupture was around 35 nm. Possible contamination was vigorously investigated and ruled out. It is argued that migration of gases inherently dissolved in water might cause the transient behavior of the water films at the short contact time. The film drainage rate and instability at the long contact time were analyzed employing Eriksson et al.'s phenomenological theory of long-range hydrophobic attraction (Eriksson, J. C.; Ljunggren, S.; Claesson, P. M., J. Chem. Soc., Faraday Trans. 2 1989, 85, 163-176) and the hypothesis of water molecular structure modified by dissolved gases, and the extended Stefan-Reynolds theory by incorporating the mobility of the air-DI-water interfaces.