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Ultra-long lifetime water bubbles stabilized by negative pressure generated between microparticles

Yang, Jin and Wang, Ao and Zheng, Quanshui (2017) Ultra-long lifetime water bubbles stabilized by negative pressure generated between microparticles. Soft Matter, 13 (44). pp. 8202-8208. ISSN 1744-683X.

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Bubbles blown up from a water surface can only last for seconds before bursting due to gravity, surface tension and evaporation. Although adding certain surfactants and depressing evaporation can significantly extend the bubbles’ lifetime, there is still no method to prevent the bubble film from getting thinner and avoid the effects of evaporation. Here we report our experimental observation that centimeter length scale water bubbles can last for over a month at room temperature in the open natural environment with evaporation if they are covered with densely distributed microparticles on the bubble top surface. The underlying stability mechanism to balance out evaporation water loss is revealed to be the existence of negative pressure in the water between the two water–air interfaces of the film of the bubbles. This negative pressure is generated by surface tension of the locally curved water–air interfaces spanned over the particles and acts against gravity to suck water up from the water bulk and self-adaptively compensate the water loss due to evaporation. A theoretical model of the above water supplementary mechanism is built and computed numerically using Surface Evolver. A three-dimensional fluorescence experiment is also designed to verify the above water transfer process. This mechanism is generally valid for making ultra-long lifetime bubbles not only with water, but also for other liquids and suitable particles that satisfy certain contact angle requirements.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Information
Zheng, Quanshui0000-0002-4828-2751
Additional Information:© 2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Received 22nd August 2017, Accepted 14th October 2017, First published on 16th October 2017. J. Y. thanks Mogeng Li and Zhaohan Li for their help in doing some additional experiments. Discussions with Professor Luping Xu gave us many new ideas for further applications of this long bubble lifetime and water supplementary mechanism. J. Y. and Q. S. Z. also thank the Center of Biomedical Analysis of Tsinghua University for providing the single photon microscope (OLYMPUS FV1000MPE) to perform the fluorescence experiments. The financial support from China's National Natural Science Foundation through grant no. 11172149 and from the Tsien Excellence in Engineering Program at Tsinghua University are acknowledged. Funding sources: The National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11172149, 11372153 and 11632009) and the Tsien Excellence in Engineering Program at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. There are no conflicts to declare.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China11172149
National Natural Science Foundation of China11372153
National Natural Science Foundation of China11632009
Tsinghua UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:44
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171108-091604357
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Official Citation:Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 8202
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83059
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Nov 2017 18:16
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:01

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