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Negative wake behind bubbles in non-newtonian liquids


GAS bubbles rising by gravity in non-newtonian elastic liquids1–4 are different to gas bubbles in viscous newtonian fluids in at least two ways. First, the bubbles in the non-newtonian liquids often have a peculiar tip at the rear pole, and second, the terminal rise velocity versus volume curve often has a discontinuity at a certain ‘critical’ volume. To investigate this unusual flow situation further we have used laser–Doppler anemometry5 to measure the liquid velocity in the wake behind air bubbles in a non-newtonian liquid. The measurements described here reveal the unexpected result that the liquid velocity behind the bubbles is in the downwards direction away from the rising bubbles (the velocities are referred to an observer at rest with respect to the liquid far from the bubbles). Thus the liquid velocity is opposite to the velocity in the usual wake behind objects moving in viscous newtonian fluids and we have called the phenomenon ‘negative wake’.

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HASSAGER, O. Negative wake behind bubbles in non-newtonian liquids. Nature 279, 402–403 (1979).

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