Reflections on cavitation nuclei in water

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The origin of cavitation bubbles, cavitation nuclei, has been a subject of debate since the early years of cavitation research. This paper presents an analysis of a representative selection of experimental investigations of cavitation inception and the tensile strength of water. At atmospheric pressure, the possibility of stabilization of free gas bubbles by a skin has been documented, but only within a range of bubble sizes that makes them responsible for tensile strengths up to about 1.5 bar, and values reaching almost 300 bar have been measured. However, cavitation nuclei can also be harbored on the surface of particles and bounding walls. Such nuclei can be related to the full range of tensile strengths measured, when differences of experimental conditions are taken into consideration. The absence or presence of contamination on surfaces, as well as the structure of the surfaces, are central to explaining why the tensile strength of water varies so dramatically between the experiments reported. A model for calculation of the critical pressure of skin-covered free gas bubbles as well as that of interfacial gaseous nuclei covered by a skin is presented. This model is able to bridge the apparently conflicting results of the many scientists, who have been working in the field over the years. ©2007 American Institute of Physics
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)072104
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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Copyright (2007) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.


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