Ultrasonics sonochemistry | 19 Jun 2012
M Hauptmann, H Struyf, P Mertens, M Heyns, S De Gendt, C Glorieux and S Brems
Various industrial processes such as sonochemical processing and ultrasonic cleaning strongly rely on the phenomenon of acoustic cavitation. As the occurrence of acoustic cavitation is incorporating a multitude of interdependent effects, the amount of cavitation activity in a vessel is strongly depending on the ultrasonic process conditions. It is therefore crucial to quantify cavitation activity as a function of the process parameters. At 1 MHz, the active cavitation bubbles are so small that it is becoming difficult to observe them in a direct way. Hence, another metrology based on secondary effects of acoustic cavitation is more suitable to study cavitation activity. In this paper we present a detailed analysis of acoustic cavitation phenomena at 1 MHz ultrasound by means of time-resolved measurements of sonoluminescence, cavitation noise, and synchronized high-speed stroboscopic Schlieren imaging. It is shown that a correlation exists between sonoluminescence, and the ultraharmonic and broadband signals extracted from the cavitation noise spectra. The signals can be utilized to characterize different regimes of cavitation activity at different acoustic power densities. When cavitation activity sets on, the aforementioned signals correlate to fluctuations in the Schlieren contrast as well as the number of nucleated bubbles extracted from the Schlieren Images. This additionally proves that signals extracted from cavitation noise spectra truly represent a measure for cavitation activity. The cyclic behavior of cavitation activity is investigated and related to the evolution of the bubble populations in the ultrasonic tank. It is shown that cavitation activity is strongly linked to the occurrence of fast-moving bubbles. The origin of this “bubble streamers” is investigated and their role in the initialization and propagation of cavitation activity throughout the sonicated liquid is discussed. Finally, it is shown that bubble activity can be stabilized and enhanced by the use of pulsed ultrasound by conserving and recycling active bubbles between subsequent pulsing cycles.
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