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Phase Field/Fluctuating Hydrodynamics approach for bubble nucleation

DOI: 10.1615/THMT-18.410
pages 433-436

M. Gallo
Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Italy

F. Magaletti
Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Italy

Carlo M. Casciola
Department of Mechanics and Aeronautics, 'Sapienza' University of Rome, Via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Rome, Italy


Vapour bubbles form in liquids by two main mechanisms: boiling and cavitation. The liquid can be held in metastable states (overheating and tensile conditions, respectively) for a long time without forming bubbles. Nucleation is indeed an activated process and nowadays molecular dynamics is the unique tool to investigate such thermally activated processes. However, its computational cost limits its application to extremely small systems and to very short times, preventing the study of hydrodynamic interactions. In this work a continuum diffuse interface model of the two-phase fluid has been embedded with thermal fluctuations in the context of the so-called Fluctuating Hydrodynamics (FH). The approach enables the description of the liquid-vapour transition in extended systems and the evaluation of bubble nucleation rates in different metastable conditions by means of numerical simulations that provide the unique possibility of investigating systems of realistic dimensions on macroscopic time scales.

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