Liquid Flow through Aqueous Foams: The Node-Dominated Foam Drainage Equation

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  • [1] Koehler, S., Hilgenfeldt, S., & Stone, H. Physical Review Letters. 82, 21. 4232-4235 (1999).
  • Keywords: Foam, Drainage, Plateau Border, Tetrakaidecahedron (Kelvin Cell)


Koehler, Hilgenfeldt, and Stone write about fluid flow through the network of channels in a soap foam. The article presents an existing theory, experimental results, and new theory more closely matching the experimental results.

Figure 1 from [1]

The network of channels in a foam are the liquid layers in between polyhedral air bubbles. Along the edges of the polyhedra, there are thin "Plateau borders" or channels which meet at vertices of the polyhedra in volumes the authors call nodes. See Figure 1 for a diagram of one network unit.

The researchers were really interested in the flow through the channels and nodes, but rather than struggle to image very small channels, they decide to learn from bulk flow through the foam driven by gravity: "forced drainage."

The experimenters were able to change the bubble size and the amount of fluid added to the top of the foam tube. They recorded two velocities using fluorescing markers.

Old Theory: Equation 6 "rigid channel walls" <math>\nu_f=(V_0^{rigid}V_s)^{1/2}</math>, <math>V_0^{rigid}=\frac{\delta_a\rho gL^2}{3\delta_\epsilon\delta_\mu \mu}</math>

  • the exponent of 1/2 is what the experimental data disagree with
Figure 3 from [1]

New Theory: "channel-slip theory" <math>\nu_f=((V_0^{slip})^2V_s)^{1/3}</math>, <math>V_0^{slip}=\frac{2\delta_a\rho gL^2}{\mu\delta_\epsilon^{1/2}I}</math>

  • I is dimensionless, viscous forces in nodes

Soft Matter Details

Experimental Methods:

Question about constant foam generation

Testing that the theory is robust

Deciding which term dominates in equation 4

Dimensional analysis equation 7

Foam- further applications?