Volume 82, Number 3, May 2008
Article Number 36003
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 24 April 2008
EPL, 82 (2008) 36003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/82/36003

Nucleation and growth of a bubble pattern under vibrations in weightlessness

D. Beysens1, D. Chatain2, P. Evesque3 and Y. Garrabos4

1  ESEME, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielle, Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes - 10, rue Vauquelin, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France, EU
2  ESEME, Service des Basses Températures, CEA-Grenoble - Grenoble, France, EU
3  Lab MSSMat, Ecole Centrale de Paris, UMR 8579 CNRS - 92295 Châtenay-Malabry Cedex, France, EU
4  ESEME, Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux, UPR 9048 CNRS - 87, avenue du Docteur A. Schweitzer, 33608 Pessac Cedex, France, EU

received 13 December 2007; accepted in final form 18 March 2008; published May 2008
published online 24 April 2008

Liquid-vapor phase transition of hydrogen was investigated during vibrations of "high" frequency = [10$\hbox{--}$ 25.4] s-1 and "low" amplitude [0.3$\hbox{--}$0.47] mm in a weightless environment. Gravity effects were compensated in a strong magnetic-field gradient. The experiments were performed near the liquid-vapor critical point and at liquid, slightly off-critical density. Vapor bubbles nucleate and grow in the liquid phase. During the initial stage, the mean bubble diameter, D, is lower than the viscous boundary layer thickness, $\delta$, and bubble growth is unaffected by vibrations, i.e. D ~ (time)1/3. When D > $\delta$, the bubbles and the liquid phase have different velocities and the bubble pattern orders in rows perpendicular to vibration under the influence of forces of hydrodynamic origin. An analysis in terms of Levy flight and superdiffusion gives a bubble evolution of D ~ (time)1/2, a result that compares reasonably well with the experimental data.

64.60.-i - General studies of phase transitions.
64.70.F- - Liquid-vapor transitions.
47.20.-k - Flow instabilities.

© EPLA 2008