Experiments studying the compression and unstable growth of a dense spherical bubble in a gaseous medium subjected to a strong planar shock wave (2.8 < M < 3.4) are performed in a vertical shock tube. The test gas is initially contained in a free-falling spherical soap-film bubble, and the shocked bubble is imaged using planar laser diagnostics. Concurrently, simulations are carried out using a compressible hydrodynamics code in r-z axisymmetric geometry.

Experiments and computations indicate the formation of characteristic vortical structures in the post-shock flow, due to Richtmyer-Meshkov and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities, and smaller-scale vortices due to secondary effects. Inconsistencies between experimental and computational results are examined, and the usefulness of the current axisymmetric approach is evaluated.