Ultrasonic Cavitation in Liquids

Ultrasonic waves of high intensity ultrasound generate cavitation in liquids. Cavitation causes extreme effects locally, such as liquid jets of up to 1000km/hr, pressures of up to 2000atm and temperatures of up to 5000 Kelvin.

About ultrasonic cavitation

Ultrasonic cavitation at Hielscher's UIP1000hdT (1kW) ultrasonicator
When sonicating liquids at high intensities, the sound waves that propagate into the liquid media result in alternating high-pressure (compression) and low-pressure (rarefaction) cycles, with rates depending on the frequency. During the low-pressure cycle, high-intensity ultrasonic waves create small vacuum bubbles or voids in the liquid. When the bubbles attain a volume at which they can no longer absorb energy, they collapse violently during a high-pressure cycle. This phenomenon is termed cavitation. During the implosion very high temperatures (approx. 5,000K) and pressures (approx. 2,000atm) are reached locally. The implosion of the cavitation bubble also results in liquid jets of up to 280m/s velocity.

Acoustic or ultrasonic cavitation: bubble growth and implosion

Acoustic cavitation (generated by power ultrasound) creates locally extreme conditions, so-called sonomechanical and sonochemical effects. Due to these effects, sonication promotes chemical reactions leading to higher yields, faster reaction speed, new pathways, and improved overall efficiency.

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Acoustic cavitation as shown here at the Hielscher ultrasonicator UIP1500hdT is used to initiate and promote chemical reactions. Ultrasonic cavitation at Hielscher's UIP1500hdT (1500W) ultrasonicator for sonochemical reactions.

Ultrasonic cavitation at the cascatrode probe of the ultrasonicator UIP1000hdT (1000 watts, 20kHz) in a glass reactor.

Video of Acoustic Cavitation

This video shows ultrasonic / acoustic cavitation in water - generated by the Hielscher UIP1000. Ultrasonic cavitation is used for many liquid applications.

Ultrasonic Cavitation in Liquids using the UIP1000

Cavitation Applications

The effects can be used in liquids for many processes, e.g. for mixing and blending, deagglomeration, milling and cell disintegration. In particular the high shear of the liquid jets causes fissure at particle surfaces and inter-particle collisions.

Ultrasonic graphene exfoliation in water

A high-speed sequence (from a to f) of frames illustrating sono-mechanical exfoliation of a graphite flake in water using the UP200S, a 200W ultrasonicator with 3-mm sonotrode. Arrows show the place of splitting (exfoliation) with cavitation bubbles penetrating the split.
© Tyurnina et al. 2020 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses)

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The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

Batch Volume Flow Rate Recommended Devices
1 to 500mL 10 to 200mL/min UP100H
10 to 2000mL 20 to 400mL/min UP200Ht, UP400St
0.1 to 20L 0.2 to 4L/min UIP2000hdT
10 to 100L 2 to 10L/min UIP4000hdT
n.a. 10 to 100L/min UIP16000
n.a. larger cluster of UIP16000
Ultrasonic high-shear homogenizers are used in lab, bench-top, pilot and industrial processing.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers for mixing applications, dispersion, emulsification and extraction on lab, pilot and industrial scale.

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High performance ultrasonics! Hielscher's product range covers the full spectrum from the compact lab ultrasonicator over bench-top units to full-industrial ultrasonic systems.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers from lab to industrial size.