Controlled emission of microbubbles into a water flow boundary layer appears to be a promising means to significant reduction of frictional drag on ships. Theoretical analyses and hypotheses require that particularly small (∼ 100 micrometers or less) gas bubbles be emitted and retained in particular laminae close to the wetted surface. Drag reduction economy requires that the quantity of gas emitted be very small. Here a design of a controllable microbubble emitter which meets both demands above is put forth. The two key requirements governing the design are pulsed operation, which expels a known volume of air during each cycle, and a known number of uniformly-sized micro-holes, which determines bubble number and therefore bubble diameter. A first, proof-of-concept experiment with a modified pulsed-pressure design of the proposed microbubble emitter was carried out and shows promise.

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