top of page

Presence of surfactants controls the stability of bubble chains in carbonated drinks

Professor Roberto Zenit

Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence in Engineering in the School of Engineering at Brown University

Omer Atasi, Mithun Ravisankar, Dominique Legendre, and Roberto Zenit

Phys. Rev. Fluids 8, 053601 – Published 3 May 2023

Bubbles appear when a carbonated drink is poured in a glass. Very stable bubble chains are clearly observed in champagne, showing an almost straight line from microscopic nucleation sites from which they are continuously formed. In some other drinks such as soda, such chains are not straight (not stable). Considering pair interactions for spherical clean bubbles, bubble chains should not be stable, which contradicts these observations. The aim of this work is to explain the conditions for bubble chain stability. For this purpose, experiments and direct numerical simulation are conducted. The bubble size as well as the level of interface contamination are varied to match the range of parameters in typical drinks. Both factors are shown to affect the bubble chain stability. The transition from stable to unstable behavior results from the reversal of the lift force, which is induced by the bubble wake. A criteria based on the production of vorticity at the bubble surface is proposed to identify the conditions of transition from stable to unstable bubble chains. Beyond carbonated drinks, understanding bubble clustering has impact in many two-phase problems of current importance.

Read More: Why do Champagne bubbles rise the way they do? Scientists’ new discovery is worthy of a toast

bottom of page