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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Jun;127(6):3456-65. doi: 10.1121/1.3377062.

Transient cavitation in high-quality-factor resonators at high static pressures.

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Impulse Devices, Inc, 13366 Grass Valley Avenue, Unit H, Grass Valley, California 95945, USA.


It is well known that cavitation collapse can generate intense concentrations of mechanical energy, sufficient to erode even the hardest metals and to generate light emissions visible to the naked eye [sonoluminescence (SL)]. Considerable attention has been devoted to the phenomenon of "single bubble sonoluminescence" (SBSL) in which a single stable cavitation bubble radiates light flashes each and every acoustic cycle. Most of these studies involve acoustic resonators in which the ambient pressure is near 0.1 MPa (1 bar), and with acoustic driving pressures on the order of 0.1 MPa. This study describes a high-quality factor, spherical resonator capable of achieving acoustic cavitation at ambient pressures in excess of 30 MPa (300 bars). This system generates bursts of violent inertial cavitation events lasting only a few milliseconds (hundreds of acoustic cycles), in contrast with the repetitive cavitation events (lasting several minutes) observed in SBSL; accordingly, these events are described as "inertial transient cavitation." Cavitation observed in this high pressure resonator is characterized by flashes of light with intensities up to 1000 times brighter than SBSL flashes, as well as spherical shock waves with amplitudes exceeding 30 MPa at the resonator wall. Both SL and shock amplitudes increase with static pressure.


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