A perfect fluid theory, which neglects the effect of gravity, and which assumes that the pressure inside a cavitation bubble remains constant during the collapse process, is given for the case of a nonhemispherical, but axially symmetric cavity which collapses in contact with a solid boundary. The theory suggests the possibility that such a cavity may deform to the extent that its wall strikes the solid boundary before minimum cavity volume is reached. High-speed motion pictures of cavities generated by spark methods are used to test the theory experimentally. Agreement between theory and experiment is good for the range of experimental cavities considered, and the phenomenon of the cavity wall striking the solid boundary does indeed occur. Studies of damage by cavities of this type on soft aluminum samples reveals that pressures caused by the cavity wall striking the bounda y are higher than those resulting from a compression of gases inside the cavity, and are responsible for the damage.

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