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Counter-intuitive drainage and rupture of thin-film bubbles.

Event Type
Mechanical Science and Engineering
wifi event
Mar 1, 2022   4:00 pm  
Professor James Bird, Mechanical Engineering, Boston University
Amy Rumsey
Originating Calendar
MechSE Seminars


When a submerged air bubble rises to a liquid surface, it drains due to gravitational and capillary forces and eventually pops. This phenomenon has been studied for centuries and is relevant to numerous industrial and natural processes, ranging from glass manufacturing to respiratory aerosol formation. Yet, several fundamental questions remain unanswered, for example, why gravity plays a variable role in drainage, and why bubble sometimes persist on surfaces longer than expected. This talk explores these questions through a combination of experiments and theory. I highlight counter-intuitive mechanisms in which inertia, viscosity, gravity, and surface tension couple during film drainage and rupture, and suggest potential future applications for these mechanisms.

About the Speaker

James Bird is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Boston University. He received his B.S. from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University, after which he completed an NSF postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. His research focuses on interfacial fluid dynamics with an emphasis on the dynamics of drops and bubbles.  He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship (2003), an NSF CAREER award (2014), and an ONR YIP award (2016), and his work has been featured in popular press outlets including the New York Times, BBC, and PBS Nova.

Host:  Professor Jie Feng

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