Tsamopoulos J., Dimakopoulos Y., Chatzidai N., Karapetsas G., Pavlidis M.
We examine the buoyancy-driven rise of a bubble in a Newtonian or a viscoplastic fluid assuming axial symmetry and steady flow. Bubble pressure and rise velocity are determined, respectively, by requiring that its volume remains constant and its centre of mass remains fixed at the centre of the coordinate system. The continuous constitutive model suggested by Papanastasiou is used to describe the viscoplastic behaviour of the material. The flow equations are solved numerically using the mixed finite-element/Galerkin method. The nodal points of the computational mesh are determined by solving a set of elliptic differential equations to follow the often large deformations of the bubble surface. The accuracy of solutions is ascertained by mesh refinement and predictions are in very good agreement with previous experimental and theoretical results for Newtonian fluids. We determine the bubble shape and velocity and the shape of the yield surfaces for a wide range of material properties, expressed in terms of the Bingham Bn = tauy*/rho*g*Rb* Bond Bo = rho*g*Rb* 2/γ* and Archimedes Ar = ρ*2g* Rb *3/μo*2 numbers, where ρ* is the density, μ*o the viscosity, γ* the surface tension and τ*y the yield stress of the material, g* the gravitational acceleration and R*b the radius of a spherical bubble of the same volume. If the fluid is viscoplastic, the material will not be deforming outside a finite region around the bubble and, under certain conditions, it will not be deforming either behind it or around its equatorial plane in contact with the bubble. As Bn increases, the yield surfaces at the bubble equatorial plane and away from the bubble merge and the bubble becomes entrapped. When Bo is small and the bubble cannot deform from the spherical shape the critical Bn is 0.143, i.e. it is a factor of 3/2 higher than the critical Bn for the entrapment of a solid sphere in a Bingham fluid, in direct correspondence with the 3/2 higher terminal velocity of a bubble over that of a sphere under the same buoyancy force in Stokes flow. As Bo increases allowing the bubble to squeeze through the material more easily, the critical Bingham number increases as well, but eventually it reaches an asymptotic value. Ar affects the critical Bn value much less. © 2008 Cambridge University Press.