Numerical computation of shock waves in a spherical cloud of cavitation bubbles

Yi Chun Wang, Christopher E. Brennen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


The nonlinear dynamics of a spherical cloud of cavitation bubbles have been simulated numerically in order to learn more about the physical phenomena occurring in cloud cavitation. A finite cloud of nuclei is subject to a decrease in the ambient pressure which causes the cloud to cavitate. A subsequent pressure recovery then causes the cloud to collapse. This is typical of the transient behavior exhibited by a bubble cloud as it passes a body or the blade of a ship propeller. The simulations employ the fully nonlinear continuum bubbly mixture equations coupled with the Rayleigh-Plesset equation for the dynamics of bubbles. A Lagrangian integral method is developed to solve this set of equations. It was found that, with strong bubble interaction effects, the collapse of the cloud is accompanied by the formation of an inward propagating bubbly shock wave. A large pressure pulse is produced when this shock passes the bubbles and causes them to collapse. The focusing of the shock at the center of the cloud produces a very large pressure pulse which radiates a substantial impulse to the far field and provides an explanation for the severe noise and damage potential in cloud cavitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-880
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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