Liposome destruction by a collapsing cavitation microbubble: A numerical study

date: 19.08.2021

category: Sporočila za javnost


Hydrodynamic cavitation poses as a promising new method for wastewater treatment as it has been shown to be able to eradicate bacteria, inactivate viruses, and destroy other biological structures, such as liposomes. Although engineers are already commercializing devices that employ cavitation, we are still not able to answer the fundamental question: “What exactly are the damaging mechanisms of hydrodynamic cavitation in various applications?”.


A schematic representation of the considered setup – an initially stable bubble (left) in vicinity of a freely submerged spherical liposome (right).


A more detailed insight into the bubble-liposome interaction for the case with δ=1.2.

In this light, the present paper addresses the interaction between a single cavitation microbubble and a nearby lipid vesicle of a similar size. A coupled fluid–structure interaction numerical model is employed, from which three critical modes of vesicle deformation are identified and temporally placed in relation to their corresponding driving mechanisms. Results are discussed with respect to critical dimensionless distance for vesicle poration and rupture. Additionally, the influence of liposome-bubble size ratio is addressed, from which a higher potential of larger bubbles for causing stretching-induced liposome destruction can be identified.


Peak values of local bilayer extension at the vesicle’s tip and waist in relation to the initial bubble-liposome stand-off distance δ.


Estimated values of peak liposome length strains with respect to the non-dimensional liposome-bubble stand-off distance δ and their size ratio RL/R0, which imply that larger bubbles carry a higher potential for causing stretching-induced liposome destruction.



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