100-year Old Physics Mystery -'Why Air Bubble Appears Stuck In Thin Liquid Tube?'- Solved


Popping a 100-year old physics problem, a French undergraduate student has claimed to have solved - Why air bubble in a narrow tube of liquid appears stuck

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:

Popping a 100-year old physics problem, a French undergraduate student has claimed to have solved the question - Why an air bubble in a narrow tube of liquid appears stuck? according to international reports. The undergraduate - Wassim Dhaouadi’s research has reportedly explained how the bubble is not stuck but is gradually moving upwards.  He has compared the 'stuck' air bubble to a climber inching through a narrow space between two rock faces.

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Why air bubble appears stuck in thin tube? Solved.

Scientists have previously observed that an air bubble which is trapped in few millimeter-thick tube appears to be unable to move freely as per gravity's effect. Researchers theorised that a film of liquid was “holding” the bubble in place, but had no substantial proof of the theory. They believed that in a tiny tube, even a very small bubble is literally surrounded by surfaces, hence holding it in space.

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Dhaoudi's method of observation

Dhaoudi has developed a unique method to observe and measure the film of liquid which was 'holding' the bubble in place. He has reportedly used an observational method similar to mass spectrometry. Reports state that Dhaoudi and his colleague directed light at the side of the tube and then at the surface of the bubble and used the reflected rays of light to deduce the thickness of the film.

This method then led them to observe that the bubble was not stuck, but climbing slowly upwards. They reportedly concluded that the bubble was hindered by the film surrounding it making the bubble cling to the surface of the tube. Scientists believe that this solves a major physics mystery paving way in many fields.

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Future scope

Experts believe that this observational method can help in the study of nano-scale fluid dynamics. They also believe that this can help explain the blood flow in human blood vessels which can in turn help solve blood-flow resistance issues. They believe that scientists can explore and treat blood flow issues by recreating body-like conditions using synthetic materials. 

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