APS tip sheet: Listening to bursting bubbles

Sound signatures from violent fluid events, like bubbles bursting, can be used to measure forces at work during these events

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Credit: Bussonnière et al. Physical Review Letters (2020)

Analyzing sounds from fluids in motion can help scientists gather data from biological and physical events that can be hard to quantify. For example, scientists use the famous Doppler effect to calculate how fast blood is flowing in the body. Now, scientists have measured the acoustics of a bursting soap bubble, a common example of violent event, to decipher the origin of the popping sound. Researchers Bussonnière et al. determined that the forces exerted by the liquid soap film on the air are those that create the “pop” as the bubble bursts. The results indicate how sound signatures from a violent event could be harnessed to measure forces during the event, according to the authors.

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Acoustic sensing of forces driving fast capillary flows

Adrien Bussonnière, Arnaud Antkowiak, François Ollivier, Michaël Baudoin, and Régis Wunenburger

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