Bubble column reactors are ubiquitous in engineering processes. They are used in waste water treatment, as well as in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biological and food industry. Mass transfer and mixing, as well as biochemical or chemical reactions in such reactors are determined by the hydrodynamics of the bubbly flow. The hydrodynamics of bubbly flows is dominated by bubble wake interactions. Despite the fact that bubble wakes have been investigated intensively in the past, there is still a lack of knowledge about how mass transfer from bubbles is influenced by bubble wake interactions in detail. The scientific scope of this work is to answer the question how bubble wakes are influenced by external flow structures like a vortex street behind a cylinder. For this purpose, the flow field in the vicinity of a single bubble is investigated systematically with high spatial and temporal resolution. High-speed Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements are conducted monitoring the flow structure in the equatorial plane of the single bubble. It is shown that the root mean square (RMS) velocity profiles downstream the bubble are influenced significantly by the interaction of vortices. In the presence of a vortex street, the deceleration of the fluid behind the bubble is compensated earlier than in the absence of a vortex street. This happens due to momentum transfer by cross-mixing. Both effects indicate that the interaction of vortices enhances the cross-mixing close to the bubble. Time series of instantaneous velocity fields show the formation of an inner shear layer and coupled vortices. In conclusion, this study shows in detail how the bubble wake is influenced by a vortex street and gives deep insights into possible effects on mixing and mass transfer in bubbly flows.
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