Bubbly water as a natural metamaterial of negative bulk-modulus

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In this study, an oscillator model of bubble-in-water is proposed to analyze the effective modulus of low-concentration bubbly water. We show that in a wide range of wave frequency the bubbly water acquires a negative effective modulus, while the effective density of the medium is still positive. These two properties imply the existence of a wide acoustic gap in which the propagation of acoustic waves in this medium is prohibited. The dispersion relation for the acoustic modes in this medium follows Lorentz type dispersion, which is of the same form as that of the phonon-polariton in an ionic crystal. Numerical results of the gap edge frequencies and the dispersion relation in the long-wavelength regime based on this effective theory are consistent with the sonic band results calculated with the plane-wave expansion method (PWEM). Our theory provides a simple mechanism for explaining the long-wavelength behavior of the bubbly water medium. Therefore, phenomena such as the high attenuation rate of sound or acoustic Anderson localization in bubbly water can be understood more intuitively. The effects of damping are also briefly discussed. This effective modulus theory may be generalized and applied to other bubble-in-soft-medium type sonic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number457
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Acoustic metamaterial
  • Bubble resonance
  • Effective medium
  • Negative modulus


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