Dynamique de bulles de cavitation dans de l'eau micro-confinée sous tension. Application à l'étude de l'embolie dans les arbres

Abstract : Liquids can sustain traction forces, as solids do. In this case, they are at negative pressure (that is, under tension), in a metastable state. Nucleation of a bubble can occur, leading the system back to a stable state : this process is called cavitation. In this PhD work, we are interested in the properties of cavitation in a confined liquid, with a particular emphasis on bubble dynamics. This study is motivated by the context of water transport in plants : ascending sap is indeed under tension, in natural micro-channels. Cavitation then leads to embolism, i. e. the gas-filling of these channels. A significant part of the manuscript is devoted to the study of cavitation in a model system : spherical inclusions of water are embedded in a hydrogel, and passive evaporation of water through the gel allows the generation of negative pressures. Cavitation can then happen spontaneously or be triggered with a laser. We resolve the subsequent dynamics of the bubble, using several methods (fast or time-lapse camera, light scattering, laser strobe photography ...), showing that after a first ultra-fast inertial step, the bubble reaches a temporary equilibrium. Then, it slowly grows due to fluxes in the hydrogel, leading to full embolism of the inclusion. A theoretical chapter follows. First, the thermodynamical properties of a confined liquid under negative pressure are investigated. In a second part, we focus on the dynamics of cavitation bubbles in such systems, at short time scales. We derive a modified Rayleigh-Plesset equation which accounts for the experimentally observed ultra-fast radial oscillations of the bubbles. Liquid compressibility and confinement elasticity are key ingredients in this model. Last, the applicability of the previous results in the context of trees is discussed. A new method to directly study embolism in trees by optical means is also presented, and applied to Scots pine samples.
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Olivier Vincent. Dynamique de bulles de cavitation dans de l'eau micro-confinée sous tension. Application à l'étude de l'embolie dans les arbres. Autre [cond-mat.other]. Université de Grenoble, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012GRENY096⟩. ⟨tel-00807749⟩

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