Bubble extinction in Hele-Shaw flow with surface tension and kinetic undercooling regularization

Michael C. Dallaston, Scott W. McCue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


We perform an analytic and numerical study of an inviscid contracting bubble in a two-dimensional Hele-Shaw cell, where the effects of both surface tension and kinetic undercooling on the moving bubble boundary are not neglected. In contrast to expanding bubbles, in which both boundary effects regularize the ill-posedness arising from the viscous (Saffman-Taylor) instability, we show that in contracting bubbles the two boundary effects are in competition, with surface tension stabilizing the boundary, and kinetic undercooling destabilizing it. This competition leads to interesting bifurcation behaviour in the asymptotic shape of the bubble in the limit it approaches extinction. In this limit, the boundary may tend to become either circular, or approach a line or 'slit' of zero thickness, depending on the initial condition and the value of a nondimensional surface tension parameter. We show that over a critical range of surface tension values, both these asymptotic shapes are stable. In this regime there exists a third, unstable branch of limiting self-similar bubble shapes, with an asymptotic aspect ratio (dependent on the surface tension) between zero and one. We support our asymptotic analysis with a numerical scheme that utilizes the applicability of complex variable theory to Hele-Shaw flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1639-1665
Number of pages27
Issue number6
Early online date29 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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