Influence of bubble size, diffuser width, and flow rate on the integral behavior of bubble plumes

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Colleges, School and Institutes


A large-eddy simulation based Eulerian-Lagrangian model is employed to quantify the impact of bubble size, diffuser diameter, and gas flow rate on integral properties of bubble plumes, such as the plume's width, centerline velocity, and mass flux. Calculated quantities are compared with experimental data and integral model predictions. Furthermore, the LES data were used to assess the behavior of the entrainment coefficient, the momentum amplification factor, and the bubble-to-momentum spread ratio. It is found that bubble plumes with constant bubble size and smaller diameter behave in accordance with integral plume models. Plumes comprising larger and non-uniform bubble sizes appear to deviate from past observations and model predictions. In multi-diameter bubble plumes, a bubble self-organisation takes place, i.e., small bubbles cluster in the center of the plume whilst large bubbles are found at the periphery of the plume. Multi-diameter bubble plumes also feature a greater entrainment rate than single-size bubble plumes, as well as a higher spread ratio and lower turbulent momentum rate. Once the plume is fully established, the size of the diffuser does not appear to affect integral properties of bubble plumes. However, plume development is affected by the diffuser width, as larger release areas lead to a delayed asymptotic behavior of the plume and consequently to a lower entrainment and higher spread ratio. Finally, the effect of the gas flow rate on the integral plume is studied and is deemed very relevant with regards to most integral plume properties and coefficients. This effect is already fairly well described by integral plume models.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3887–3904
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number6
Early online date4 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • integral bubble plume properties, bubble plume dynamics, large-eddy simulation