Indexed on: 18 Jan '15Published on: 18 Jan '15Published in: Advances in Colloid and Interface Science
The interaction between bubbles and solid surfaces is central to a broad range of industrial and biological processes. Various experimental techniques have been developed to measure the interactions of bubbles approaching solids in a liquid. A main challenge is to accurately and reliably control the relative motion over a wide range of hydrodynamic conditions and at the same time to determine the interaction forces, bubble-solid separation and bubble deformation. Existing experimental methods are able to focus only on one of the aspects of this problem, mostly for bubbles and particles with characteristic dimensions either below 100 μm or above 1 cm. As a result, either the interfacial deformations are measured directly with the forces being inferred from a model, or the forces are measured directly with the deformations to be deduced from the theory. The recently developed integrated thin film drainage apparatus (ITFDA) filled the gap of intermediate bubble/particle size ranges that are commonly encountered in mineral and oil recovery applications. Equipped with side-view digital cameras along with a bimorph cantilever as force sensor and speaker diaphragm as the driver for bubble to approach a solid sphere, the ITFDA has the capacity to measure simultaneously and independently the forces and interfacial deformations as a bubble approaches a solid sphere in a liquid. Coupled with the thin liquid film drainage modeling, the ITFDA measurement allows the critical role of surface tension, fluid viscosity and bubble approach speed in determining bubble deformation (profile) and hydrodynamic forces to be elucidated. Here we compare the available methods of studying bubble-solid interactions and demonstrate unique features and advantages of the ITFDA for measuring both forces and bubble deformations in systems of Reynolds numbers as high as 10. The consistency and accuracy of such measurement are tested against the well established Stokes-Reynolds-Young-Laplace model. The potential to use the design principles of the ITFDA for fundamental and developmental research is demonstrated.