Hydrodynamic interactions between air bubbles and particles have wide applications in multiphase separation and reaction processes. In the present work, we explore the fundamental mechanism of such complex processes by studying the collision of a single bubble with a fixed solid particle inside a Hele-Shaw cell. Physical experiments show that an air bubble either splits or slides around the particle depending on the initial transverse distance between the bubble and particle centroids. An air bubble splits into two daughter bubbles at small transverse distances, and slides around the particle at large distances. In order to predict the critical transverse distance that separates these two behaviors, we also develop a theoretical model by estimating the rate of the bubble volume transfer from one side of the particle to the other based on Darcy's law, which is in good agreement with experiments.
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© 2016 American Physical Society.