Heart-shaped bubbles rising in anisotropic liquids

Chunfeng Zhou, Pengtao Yue, James J. Feng, Chun Liu & Jie Shen

Phys. Fluids 19, 041793 (2007) 

Abstract - This Letter reports on numerical simulations motivated by experimental observations of an unusual inverted-heart shape for bubbles rising in an anisotropic micellar solution. We explain the bubble shape by assuming that the micelles are aligned into a nematic phase, whose anchoring energy on the bubble competes with the interfacial tension and the bulk elasticity of the nematic to modify the interfacial curvature. Numerical results show that bubbles with sufficiently strong planar anchoring rising in a vertically aligned nematic indeed assume the observed shape. The parameter values required are compared with the experimental materials and conditions.