Science2013-09-05 2:56 AM

Multiscale Modeling of Membrane Rearrangement, Drainage, and Rupture in Evolving Foams

Modeling the physics of foams and foamlike materials, such as soapy froths, fire retardants, and lightweight crash-absorbent structures, presents challenges, because of the vastly different time and space scales involved. By separating and coupling these disparate scales, we have designed a multiscale framework to model dry foam dynamics. This leads to a predictive and flexible computational methodology linking, with a few simplifying assumptions, foam drainage, rupture, and topological rearrangement, to coupled interface-fluid motion under surface tension, gravity, and incompressible fluid dynamics. Our computed results match theoretical analyses and experimentally observed physical effects, including thin-film drainage and interference, and are used to study bubble rupture cascades and macroscopic rearrangement. The developed multiscale model allows quantitative computation of complex foam evolution phenomena.

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