On shapes and motion of an elongated bubble in downward liquid pipe flow

A. Fershtman, V. Babin, D. Barnea, L. Shemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In stagnant liquid, or in a steady upward liquid pipe flow, an elongated (Taylor) bubble has a symmetric shape. The translational velocity of the bubble is determined by buoyancy and the liquid velocity profile ahead of it. In downward flow, however, the symmetry of the bubble nose can be lost. Taylor bubble motion in downward flow is important in numerous applications such as chemical plants and cooling systems that often contain countercurrent gas-liquid flow. In the present study, the relation between the Taylor bubble shape and its translational velocity is investigated experimentally in a vertical pipe for various downward liquid flow rates. At higher downward velocities, the bubble may be forced by the background flow to propagate downward against buoyancy. In order to include those cases as well in our experimental analysis, the bubbles were initially injected into stagnant liquid, whereas the downward flow was initiated at a later stage. This experimental procedure allowed us to identify three distinct modes of translational velocities for a given downward background liquid flow; each velocity corresponds to a different bubble shape. Hydrodynamic mechanisms that govern the transition between the modes observed in the present study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112103
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


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