As I had a MSc thesis that had to regard this problem within it, did look into this extensivelly. For Beer formation it would be good for you to read http://edepot.wur.nl/202245, tho it's an older PhD thesis, it was checked and backed by experimental data. Alot about foam formation and breakdown was explained. Found also that many newer works also used much of his work, offcourse upgradeing it and finding new things, mainly about Plaetu's border and surfaces forming specific geometries to save energy, mostly those research was about soap films.
Four physical processes determine foam formation and breakdown:
- Bubble formation and growth
- Creaming and drainage
In general, bubbles can be produced in a liquid by:
- Agitating or whipping
- By sparging or diffusing gas through a porous material
- By decreasing the pressure of a with gas saturated liquid
The creaming of bubbles is the rise of the bubbles to the top of the system. Drainage
is the liquid flow from a foam to the liquid underneath. One could also argue that
creaming becomes drainage as soon as the bubbles start to interfere and to influence
each other in their motion. The creaming process may be described with Stokes law.
However, this law can only be applied if the bubble surface is immobile and the
Reynolds number is low.
Drainage occurs if the bubbles become more densely packed. The foam becomes
dryer and the bubbles become deformed. During drainage, the foam evolves gradually
from a foam with spherical bubbles to a foam with polyhedral bubbles. In a polyhedral
foam the Plateau border suction contributes as a driving force for drainage,
in addition to gravity. As a consequence of the curvature of a Plateau border, the
pressure inside the Plateau border is lower than inside the bubble and in the plane
film. Therefore, liquid will flow from the film to the Plateau border. Through the
Plateau borders this liquid will drain from the foam as a result of gravity.
Coalescence in foams is the merge of two bubbles caused by the rupture of the film
between the bubbles. Two smaller bubbles become one larger bubble. Coalescence is
often related to drainage. Films can drain to a certain equilibrium thickness. When this equilibrium thickness is reached, the film may persist over a very long period
of time. Equilibrium films only rupture when the film liquid evaporates, or when
Disproportionation is a coarsening process, that is the result of inter-bubble gas
diffusion, caused by a gas pressure difference between bubbles. If a single gas is
present, pressure difference corresponds to a difference in Laplace pressure. This
pressure difference may be a result of a difference in size. According to the law of
Laplace the pressure in a smaller bubble is higher than the pressure in a larger bubble, assuming that the surface tensions $(\sigma)$ of both bubbles are equal.
Taken from Ronteltap 1989.