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Published April 1, 1954 | public
Journal Article Open

The Growth of Vapor Bubbles in Superheated Liquids


The growth of a vapor bubble in a superheated liquid is controlled by three factors: the inertia of the liquid, the surface tension, and the vapor pressure. As the bubble grows, evaporation takes place at the bubble boundary, and the temperature and vapor pressure in the bubble are thereby decreased. The heat inflow requirement of evaporation, however, depends on the rate of bubble growth, so that the dynamic problem is linked with a heat diffusion problem. Since the heat diffusion problem has been solved, a quantitative formulation of the dynamic problem can be given. A solution for the radius of the vapor bubble as a function of time is obtained which is valid for sufficiently large radius. This asymptotic solution covers the range of physical interest since the radius at which it becomes valid is near the lower limit of experimental observation. It shows the strong effect of heat diffusion on the rate of bubble growth. Comparison of the predicted radius-time behavior is made with experimental observations in superheated water, and very good agreement is found.

Additional Information

Copyright © 1954 American Institute of Physics. (Received September 26, 1953) This study was supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.


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