The well-studied selection problems involving Saffman-Taylor fingers or Taylor-Saffman bubbles in a Hele-Shaw channel are prototype examples of pattern selection. Exact solutions to the corresponding zero-surface-tension problems exist for an arbitrary finger or bubble speed, but the addition of surface tension leads to a discrete set of solution branches, all of which approach a single solution in the limit the surface tension vanishes. In this sense, the surface tension selects a single physically meaningful solution from the continuum of zero-surface-tension solutions. Recently, we provided numerical evidence to suggest the selection problem for a bubble propagating in an unbounded Hele-Shaw cell behaves in an analogous way to other finger and bubble problems in a Hele-Shaw channel; however, the selection of the ratio of bubble speeds to background velocity appears to follow a very different surface tension scaling to the channel cases. Here we apply techniques in exponential asymptotics to solve the selection problem analytically, confirming the numerical results, including the predicted surface tension scaling laws. Further, our analysis sheds light on the multiple tips in the shape of the bubbles along solution branches, which appear to be caused by switching on and off exponentially small wavelike contributions across Stokes lines in a conformally mapped plane. These results have ramifications for exotic-shaped Saffman-Taylor fingers as well as for the time-dependent evolution of bubbles propagating in Hele-Shaw cells.
|Publication status||Submitted - 2018|