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Published September 1949 | Reprint
Journal Article Open

The Dynamics of Cavitation Bubbles

Plesset, M. S.


Three regimes of liquid flow over a body are defined, namely: (a) noncavitating flow; (b) cavitating flow with a relatively small number of cavitation bubbles in the field of flow; and (c) cavitating flow with a single large cavity about the body. The assumption is made that, for the second regime of flow, the pressure coefficient in the flow field is no different from that in the noncavitating flow. On this basis, the equation of motion for the growth and collapse of a cavitation bubble containing vapor is derived and applied to experimental observations on such bubbles. The limitations of this equation of motion are pointed out, and include the effect of the finite rate of evaporation and condensation, and compressibility of vapor and liquid. A brief discussion of the role of "nuclei" in the liquid in the rate of formation of cavitation bubbles is also given.

Additional Information

©1949 American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The study was carried on in the Hydrodynamics Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology. It forms a part of the activities of Contract NOrd-9612 which is jointly supported by the Research and Development Division of the Bureau of Ordnance and the Fluid Mechanics Branch of the Office of Naval Research. The author wishes also to a cknowledge the assistance of Mr. F. H. Brady and Mr. J. M. Green in the numerical computations.

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