Shock-accelerated bubbles have long been an intriguing topic for understanding the fundamental physics of turbulence generation and mixing caused by the Richtmyer–Meshkov instability. In this study, the impact of bulk viscosity on the flow morphology of a shock-accelerated cylindrical light bubble in diatomic and polyatomic gases is investigated numerically. An explicit mixed-type modal discontinuous Galerkin scheme with uniform meshes is employed to solve a two-dimensional system of unsteady physical conservation laws derived rigorously from the Boltzmann–Curtiss kinetic equations. We also derive a new complete viscous compressible vorticity transport equation including the bulk viscosity. The numerical results show that, during the interaction between a planar shock wave and a cylindrical light bubble, the bulk viscosity associated with the viscous excess normal stress in diatomic and polyatomic gases plays an important role. The diatomic and polyatomic gases cause significant changes in flow morphology, resulting in complex wave patterns, vorticity generation, vortex formation, and bubble deformation. In contrast to monatomic gases, diatomic and polyatomic gases produce larger rolled-up vortex chains, various inward jet formations, and large mixing zones with strong, large-scale expansion. The effects of diatomic and polyatomic gases are explored in detail through phenomena such as the vorticity generation, degree of nonequilibrium, enstrophy, and dissipation rate. Furthermore, the evolution of the shock trajectories and interface features is investigated. Finally, the effects of bulk viscosity on the flow physics of shock-accelerated cylindrical light bubble are comprehensively analyzed.

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