Hydrodynamic cavitation inside a freefloating water drop produced in microgravity. (Credits: ESA, Danail Obreschkow, Philippe Kobel, Nicolas Dorsaz, Aurèle de Bosset, Mohamed Farhat).
Cavitation is a general term used to describe the behavior of voids or bubbles in a liquid. Cavitation is usually divided into two classes of behavior: inertial (or transient) cavitation and non-inertial cavitation. Inertial cavitation is the process where a void or bubble in a liquid rapidly collapses, producing a shock wave. Such cavitation often occurs in pumps, propellers, impellers, and in the vascular tissues of plants. Non-inertial cavitation is the process where a bubble in a fluid is forced to oscillate in size or shape due to some form of energy input, such as an acoustic field. Such cavitation is often employed in ultrasonic cleaning baths and can also be observed in pumps...