Successive stages in evolution of soap bubbles
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Successive stages in evolution of soap bubbles

September 17, 2013
Snapshots from a multiscale computational model of membrane rearrangement, drainage and rupture in a cluster of soap bubbles, shown using thin film interference, which produces rainbow hues like an oil slick on pavement. Two mathematicians from the University of California, Berkeley, modeled the successive stages in the complex evolution and disappearance of bubbles, and produced a numerical framework that could help model industrial processes in which liquids mix or are in the formation of solid foams, such as those used to cushion bicycle helmets. By constructing and solving a set of equations that describe the multiscale dynamics of foams, James A. Sethian and Robert I. Saye compute the evolution of a collapsing soap bubble cluster where macroscopic gas dynamics are coupled to microscopic fluid flow inside the thin film membranes, leading to membrane rearrangement, drainage and rupture. Credit: Robert Saye and James Sethian, UC-Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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