Sinking a body with bubbles in closed and open environments
DeGrace, Carl W.
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The presence of bubbles in a liquid decreases the average density, and thus decreases the buoyant force on a floating body. Competing with the decrease in buoyancy is an upward drag due to the bubble motion and entrained liquid. This thesis presents investigations of the critical average density required to sink a buoyant body in water with bubbles in closed and open environments. A closed environment is where bubbles fill the container, in which case there is expected to be little if any upward flow of water at the body. An open environment is where the bubbles exist over a small cross-sectional area compared to the total cross-sectional area of the container, which models the effect of a methane eruption from the ocean floor. In this case, a substantial upward flow of water is entrained in the region of the bubbles, and a downward flow consequently occurs outside this region. Experiments for both closed and open environments are reported, where the average specific gravity of the body is varied. The closed environment data significantly deviate from a quantitative theory, and the open environment data are not in accord with a qualitative theory. Possible explanations for these deviations are offered.
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