Recent research efforts have illustrated the importance of capillarity on the behavior of two-phase flow (gas-liquid) in low Bond number systems; that is, systems where capillary forces are important relative to gravitational forces. Such systems include capillary tubes and microchannels as well as the gas flow channels of a PEM fuel cell. High speed microscopy experiments visualizing air-water flow through a 500 micrometer square glass capillary, 10 cm long were conducted. The flow rates are significant with velocities of 6.2 m/s for the air and 0.2 m/s for the water. A unique annular flow with periodic destabilization of the gas-liquid interface has been observed. Standing waves develop on the liquid film and grow into annular lobes typical of that observed in low speed two-phase flow in capillary tubes. Atypical is the interface destabilization phenomena. The leading face of the lobe will decelerate and suddenly become normal to the wall of the square capillary while the trailing face of the lobe will remain gently sloped back into the annular liquid film. The transition between the leading and trailing faces acquires a sharp edge having a exceptionally large curvature. The entire structure then rapidly collapses and produces travelling waves which propagate upstream and downstream along the annular liquid film. The entire sequence of events takes approximately a half millisecond. This destabilization phenomenon is regular and periodic. Visualization of the destabilization from the high speed microscopy setup and preliminary analysis are presented.

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