Probing Internal Pressures and Long-Term Stability of Nanobubbles in Water

Xiaonan Shi, Shan Xue, Taha Marhaba, Wen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Nanobubbles (NBs) in liquid exhibit many intriguing properties such as low buoyancy and high mass transfer efficiency and reactivity as compared to large bulk bubbles. However, it remains elusive why or how bulk NBs are stabilized in water, and particularly, the states of internal pressures of NBs are difficult to measure due to the lack of proper methodologies or instruments. This study employed the injection of high-pressure gases through a hydrophobized ceramic membrane to produce different gaseous NBs (e.g., N2, O2, H2, and CO2) in water, which is different from cavitation bubbles with potential internal low pressure and noncondensed gases. The results indicate that increasing the injection gas pressure (60-80 psi) and solution temperatures (6-40 °C) both reduced bubble sizes from approximately 400 to 200 nm, which are validated by two independent models developed from the Young-Laplace equation and contact mechanics. Particularly, the colloidal force model can explain the effects of surface tension and surface charge repulsion on bubble sizes and internal pressures. The contact mechanics model incorporates the measurement of the tip-bubble interaction forces by atomic force microscopy to determine the internal pressures and the hardness of NBs (e.g., Young's modulus). Both the colloidal force balance model and our contact mechanics model yielded consistent predictions of the internal pressures of various NBs (120-240 psi). The developed methods and model framework will be useful to unravel properties of NBs and support engineering applications of NBs (e.g., aeration or ozonation). Finally, the bulk NBs under sealed storage could be stable for around a week and progressively reduce in concentrations over the next 30-60 days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2514-2522
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 23 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Probing Internal Pressures and Long-Term Stability of Nanobubbles in Water'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this