Collapse dynamics of smectic-A bubbles

Abstract : The collapse dynamics of smectic-A bubbles are analyzed experimentally and theoretically. Each bubble is expanded from a flat film stretched at the end of a hollow cylinder and deflated through a pressure release by means of a capillary tube. Its total collapse time can be varied between 0.1s and 20s by suitably choosing the length and the internal diameter of the capillary. This experiment allowed us to show that the collapse takes place in two steps: an initial one, which lasts a fraction of a second, where the meniscus destabilizes and fills up with focal conics, followed by a much longer period during which the bubble collapses and exchanges material with the meniscus. By measuring simultaneously the Laplace pressure and the internal pressure inside the bubble, we were able to fully characterize the shear-thinning behavior of the smectic phase within the meniscus. We emphasize that this method is generic and could be applied as well to other systems such as soap bubbles, on condition that inertial effects are negligible.
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François Caillier, Patrick Oswald. Collapse dynamics of smectic-A bubbles. European Physical Journal E: Soft matter and biological physics, EDP Sciences: EPJ, 2006, 20 (2), pp.159-172. ⟨ensl-00182725⟩

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