The lubrication of external liquid flow with a bubbly mixture or gas layer has been the goal of engineers for many years, and this article presents the underlying principles and recent advances of this technology. It reviews the use of partial and supercavities for drag reduction of axisymmetric objects moving within a liquid. Partial cavity flows can also be used to reduce the friction drag on the nominally two-dimensional portions of a horizontal surface, and the basic flow features of two-dimensional cavities are presented. Injection of gas can lead to the creation of a bubbly mixture near the flow surface that can significantly modify the flow within the turbulent boundary layer, and there have been significant advances in the understanding of the underlying physical process of drag reduction. Moreover, with sufficient gas flux, the bubbles flowing beneath a solid surface can coalesce to form a thin drag-reducing air layer. The current applications of these techniques to underwater vehicles and surface ships are discussed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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