Modeling Bursting Bubbles Could Aid in Formation of Solid Foams

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have developed a mathematical description for foam evolution - an achievement that could help in modeling industrial processes in which liquids mix, or in the formation of solid foams like those used to cushion bicycle helmets. Applying their new mathematical equations, the researchers created computer-generated videos showing a cluster of bubbles slowly disappearing. "This work has application in the mixing of foams, in industrial processes for making metal and plastic foams, and in modeling growing cell clusters," says James A. Sethian, a UC Berkeley professor of mathematics. "These techniques, which rely on solving a set of linked partial differential equations, can be used to track the motion of a large number of interfaces connected together, where the physics and chemistry determine the surface dynamics."