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Effects of Liquid Droplet-Droplet Interactions

in a Pressure Swirl Spray

Peter Kozak and Katherine Asztalos

December 8, 2015

Pressure swirl sprays are commonly used for propulsion and a number of
industrial applications. However, the dynamics between individual droplets
and the means to implement models for millions of them, remains poorly un-
derstood. This paper details the results from a finite volume method (FVM)
Euler-Lagrange simulation of a pressure swirl spray and compares them with
measurements taken experimentally. A comprehensive survey of the simplify-
ing assumptions and computational models utilized to simulate a liquid spray
passing through a stationary gas continuum is presented. The macroscopic ef-
fects of the spray on the continuous phase and the addition of fine droplets to
the overall flow physics is investigated. Recommendations are made for future
Euler-Lagrange simulations, including changes to droplet distortion models
and reconciling competing requirements of the droplet and turbulence mod-

1 Introduction 1
1.1 Background and Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 Multiphase Flow Physics of Pressure Swirl Sprays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2.1 Secondary Atomization of Droplets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.2.2 Droplet-Droplet Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

2 Methodology 5
2.1 Euler-Lagrange Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.1.1 Physical Domain and Mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.1.2 Eulerian Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2.1.3 Lagrangian Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2.2 Validation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.3 Data Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

3 Results and Discussion 15

3.1 Continuous Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
3.2 Lagrangian Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

4 Conclusion 31
4.1 Evaluation of Project Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.2 Recommendations for Future Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

5 Appendix 33
5.1 MATLAB Codes for Post-Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
5.1.1 Data Extraction Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
5.1.2 Data Filtering Function - Z Plane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
5.1.3 Movie Maker Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

References 38
B Impact distance
b Impact parameter
Cb Critical distortion coefficient
Cd Drag Coefficient Coefficient
Ck Stiffness Coefficient
C Damping Coefficient Coefficient
dp Particle diameter
Re Reynolds number
r Residual
vs Slip velocity
Q Volumetric flow rate
We Weber number
y Normalized droplet diameter

Injector cone angle

Surface tension
Injector swirl angle
Liquid sprays that originate from a pressure swirl injector. The size distributions that re-
sult along with droplet-droplet interactions; lastly the coupled physics between the liquid
phase and the surrounding continuous gas phase. Some of these effects are rather impor-
tant; in particular, the effects of shear layers in the formation of instabilities that eventually
lead to turbulence. These sprays have a number of different purposes; whether in fluidized
beds, atomization of fuels for propulsion or energy production, or industrial applications.
The liquid spray created by pressure swirl injector will be the subject of this paper. Pressure
swirl injectors rely on a pressure gradient forcing the formation of a liquid film that, as a re-
sult of instabilities in that layer, degenerates into droplets of various diameters, velocities,
and directions.
Once the spray has left the injector, the cloud of droplets evolves as a result of the size
distribution, relative velocity between the individual droplets, the slip velocity on individ-
ual droplets, the density of particles in a given location, as well as the laminar or turbulent
nature of the surrounding airflow. Consequently, a number of different outcomes may oc-
cur when droplets collide, including coalescence into a single droplet, the breaking up of a
droplet due to collisions, or breaking down of the droplets into even smaller droplets due
to drag forces and distortion of the droplet shapes.
While the study of droplets moving through air has been studied for over a century, a full
understanding of this type of flow remains elusive. Therefore, ongoing research has relied
heavily on experimental observations and piecemeal models rather than a unified, com-
prehensive theory. The purpose of this work was to reproduce the results detailed of an
experimental study of an oil spray using phase Doppler Anemometry (PDA) by Santolaya et
al[13]. Using a published numerical study of a similar spray by Pawar et al[9] as a reference,
the authors of this paper evaluated the models and simplifying assumptions necessary to
formulate an Euler-Lagrangian simulation of this type of multiphase flow. Once the results
were validated, the simulations could then be used to make observations regarding the flow
phenomena itself, and the efficacy of the models used to reproduce them. In particular, the
primary goal was to show how droplet interactions with other droplets, as well as the con-
tinuous medium, can affect the macroscopic aspects of a liquid spray in air. This study
also aspired to determine what the effects of the addition of fine particles would be on the
continuous medium, and if it would result in more effective entrainment of that contin-
uous medium into the spray. Lastly, recommendations were made for improvements to
the models that have been used along with suggestions for novel approaches to simulating
liquid sprays.


Pressure swirl nozzles are commonly used to generate a spray of droplets by means of a
high pressure gradient between the injector inlet and the ambient pressure at the outlet.
This forces the liquid phase through a thin cylindrical opening, forming a film that extends

Figure 1.1: Diagram of a pressure swirl injector cross-

outward from the injector at an angle in the shape of a hollow cone. This thin film then
begins to break up, due to Reynolds instabilities within the film, causing larger and larger
perturbations, and producing a wide distribution of differently sized droplets. Due to the
highly nonlinear and chaotic nature of this breakup, the individual droplets are cast off
randomly with various velocity directions and magnitudes. This, along with a swirl angle,
which imparts a tangential velocity to the film itself (usually at an angle of roughly forty-
five degrees), the spray is then bounded by an outer and inner cone angle, with the highest
density of particles begin located in the center of this conical shell. Depending on the speed
of the droplets as they move relative to the continuous medium, their surface tension and
the drag coefficient of the droplet itself, secondary breakup may occur, resulting in further


Secondary atomization is directly dependent on the droplet Weber number,

l v s2 d p
We = , (1.1)

resulting in varying regimes of droplet breakup. This is unique to liquid droplets (or gas
bubbles) traveling through a continuous medium, since they do not have a rigid shape. In-
stead, their shape is defined by the pressure distribution and shear stress on the surface
of the droplet, along with viscous damping forces within the droplet itself, resulting in a
shape that minimizes the potential energy contained within the droplet surface. The We-
ber number is the most commonly used parameter to describe the behavior of droplets

Figure 1.2: Different types of secondary breakup with cor-
responding Weber numbers[2]

subject to drag forces or collisions. The Weber number may be considered as the ratio be-
tween the inertial forces of the continuous medium on the droplets surface with respect
to the surface tension. Considering a droplet as a damped spring mass system, it is easy
to imagine the air pushing against the surface of a droplet, causing it to flatten out into a
rounded disk, while the surface tensions resists such deformation and the viscosity damps
the deformation rate.
A number of different models describe what takes place due to this phenomena, includ-
ing some that consider additional phenomena based on experimental observations. One
model is the Taylor Analogy Breakup (TAB) model, which predicts that at Weber numbers
approaching We 12, the middle of this disk will narrow and eventually pinch off, resulting
in the creation of a number of equally-sized, smaller droplets. At higher Weber numbers
(We 20), models predict that the center of the disk will begin to stretch along the axial
direction by the drag forces, creating a bag shape which may then break up. At higher still
Weber numbers (We 50), additional effects begin to take place that are not predicted by
the simple spring-mass damper system; including the shearing off of tiny droplets from
the surface of the droplet, as well as the possibility of a catastrophic breakup (We 100), in
which the droplet is annihilated into a cloud of incredibly fine droplets. For the purposes
of this study, the average Weber number was assumed to be relatively low and secondary
atomization was expected to be dominated by TAB breakup, if it even occurred at all.


Droplet-droplet interactions dominate sprays for which there is a high density of parti-
cles within the spray, as well as a wide variation of velocity vectors within the spray. For
any collision that takes place, there will be one of three major outcomes: (1) no droplets are
created or subsumed, (2) additional droplets are created, or (3) one of the droplets is sub-
sumed into the other in a phenomenon known as coalescence. In particular, the potential

Figure 1.3: Collision between two droplets, and the defini-
tion of impact distance, B[9]

outcomes of droplet-droplet collisions are coalescence, bouncing (in which the droplets
merely exchange momentum, but not mass), as well as reflexive and stretching collisions
(in which the surface tension of the two droplets is broken and one of the droplets is then
deformed in such a way as smaller droplets are then able to pinch off and form).
These behaviors can be predicted directly as a function of the Weber number and a vari-
able called the impact parameter, b,

b= , (1.2)
dl + d s

where B is the impact distance, shown in Figure 1.3. In Figure 2.1, one can easily see that
for lower impact parameters, coalescent and reflexive collisions are most likely, whereas for
moderate impact parameters, stretching collisions are most likely. And lastly for very large
impact parameters, bouncing collisions become the most likely to occur.

(a) (b)

Figure 1.4: Schematic illustration of the outcome of droplet


There are a number of ways to simulate a multiphase flow, including Euler-Euler mod-
els, which treat both phases as continuous media, and models droplet interactions and
breakup as a function of the weight fraction and statistics. An alternative method is the
Euler-Lagrange method, which includes the discrete element method, which treats the
physics of each droplet individually and the Lagrangian parcel volume method, which takes
a mesoscopic and statistically view of droplet behavior. One major weakness of the Euler-
Euler method is that it relies most heavily on models rather than the governing equations
of fluid motion. This makes such a model the least "physical" compared to the others. The
discrete element method is the model that is most faithful to the flow physics, but at an
incredible cost in computational expense. In contrast to the others, the Lagrangian parcel
volume method makes compromises that balance accuracy and computational efficiency
by taking a statistical approach to the individual particle dynamics but still treats groups
of particles contained in parcels as discrete elements. For that reason, the Lagrangian par-
cel volume method was chosen to run alongside a finite volume method (FVM) simulation
of the continuous phase for this project. The individual models that were used to predict
specific droplet behaviors is expanded upon later in this chapter. In total, the simulation
contained approximately 30,000 parcels or just under 1,000,000 droplets.


As mentioned before, the continuous phase was modeled from an Eulerian perspective
using an FVM simulation in STAR-CCM+[2], a commercially available code. The physical
geometry of the domain was obtained from Santoyola et al and describes a cubic volume

(a) (b)

Figure 2.1: (domain) Physical domain and boundary con-

ditions (b) Representation of the volume parcels

(a) Front View (b) Side View

(c) Isometric View


Figure 2.2: 3-D volume-mesh generated by Cubit

Table 2.1: Simulation Parameters
Dimensions [mm] 75 x 75 x 75
Number of Elements [-] 800,000
t [s] 105
Inlet velocity [m/s] 3
Turbulence model LES

with the injector located near the inlet and pointed downstream. The physical domain and
the location of the injector, along with the respective boundary conditions, is shown in Fig-
ure 2.2. The boundaries that contain the physical domain are a velocity inlet, which allowed
a low-velocity airflow to enter, and opposite from that boundary was a pressure outlet, al-
lowing the gas phase and droplets to exit. On the sides were defined symmetry boundary
conditions, which for the Lagrangian phase, was also treated as an outlet. Additionally, the
physical and computational parameters for this simulation are given in Table 2.1.
A fully structured mesh was created using a proprietary meshing software called Cubit
[12], with the individual element size being dictated by the maximum droplet size. The el-
ements characteristic length fell between five and ten times the Sauter mean diameter at
the injector. This was necessary so as to accurately resolve the Lagrangian phase and the
coupled physics between the two media. As a result, grid convergence became difficult to
verify, since further refinement would likely result in elements with too high a volume frac-
tion for the Lagrangian phase, which would then lead to numerical instability. A coarser
mesh was not feasible due to accuracy concerns. Additional issues, resulting from this nec-
essary requirement, is expanded upon later when discussing the turbulence model.


STAR-CCM+ computed the finite volume simulation using a second-order accurate in

space Semi-Implicit Pressure Linked Equations (SIMPLE) algorithm. The time step was
prescribed by the turbulence model to be t = 105 seconds in order to keep the maximum
convective-Courrant number within a value of one. The simulation was run for a total time
of roughly 0.1 seconds. While this may seem to be short, it was many times the time scale
for the simulation,
L domain
T = . (2.1)
v spray
In fact, by observing the change of the mean Sauter diameter for the entire domain, total
number of droplets contained within the domain, and the total number of collisions taking
place with respect to time, the spray appeared to reach steady-state within a single time
scale of T = 0.001 seconds. Throughout the simulations run time, the residuals for the
continuity and momentum equations were resolved below r = 104 . The turbulence model
chosen was a Large Eddy Simulation (LES); specifically, the dynamically-scaled Smagorin-
sky model[4]. This turbulence model was chosen both out of concern for accuracy and
computational expense, since it was anticipated by the authors that turbulent dispersion

would be an important factor in the flow physics[15]. An alternative three-dimensional
Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) model was also considered, which would have al-
lowed for a turbulent dispersion model to be applied. However, the RANS model required
was the seven-equation Reynolds Stress Transport (RST) model[3], which carries signifi-
cant computational overhead compared to other RANS models. In practice this model was
found to increase simulation run time, even with respect to the LES model. Because of this
fact, and due to the wish of the authors to reproduce the turbulent dispersion directly from
the governing equations, the LES model was chosen for this simulation.



The injector served to introduce the liquid phase parcels into the simulation. The injec-
tor itself endowed the particles with a velocity and size distribution. It did so using the Lin-
earized Instability Sheet Atomization (LISA) model that served to add randomness to the
created parcels. The size distribution at the injector point was defined in two ways; (1) us-
ing Rosin-Rammler[11] size distribution parameters and (2) by directly defining the weight
fractions of various size ranges. The injector parameters and size distribution weight frac-
tions can be found in Tables 2.2 and 2.3. The injector itself was modeled to be D injector =
0.5mm, with an outer cone angle of o = 80 , and an inner cone angle of i = 60 , obtained
from data given by Santolaya et al. The Santolaya paper did not explicitly give the swirl an-
gle, so for the purposes of the simulation, a swirl angle of = 45 was chosen after a review
of various sources. The liquid-gas volumetric flow ratio was set to be Q l /Q g = 4 104 . The
injector size distribution was taken from Santoyalas results at a distance of z = 9mm from
the injector. This decision was validated by later results showing little difference in size ra-
tio between the injector and that point. However, the Rosin-Rammler model proved to be
unreliable for ensuring the proper size distribution even though the minimum and maxi-
mum sizes were provided along with the average. This necessitated the use of an explicit
definition of the weight fractions in order to get reliable results.

Table 2.2: Injector Parameters

D injector [mm] 0.5
d max [microns] 110
d min [microns] 10
d ref [microns] 48.5
Rosin-Rammler Exponent [-] 3.5
P [bar] 12
o [deg] 80
i [deg] 60
[deg] 45

Table 2.3: Injector Droplet Size Distribution
i d p,i [microns] x i [-]
1 10-20 0.015
2 20-30 0.055
3 30-40 0.150
4 40-50 0.220
5 50-60 0.220
6 70-80 0.140
7 80-90 0.090
8 90-100 0.050
9 100-110 0.005


In order to effectively couple the physics between the liquid and gas phases, an accu-
rate drag model was required. Little evidence has suggested that any other forces (other
than drag) are responsible for momentum exchange between the Eulerian and Lagrangian
media. The Taylor Analogy[8] models a deforming droplet as a damped spring-mass sys-
tem, as can be shown in Figure 2.3. Modeling this system into a second-order differential
l d p2 C k We
y = 2y C l y, (2.2)
4 d p Wecrit
solves for the effective radius of the now disc-shaped droplet, where,

y= . (2.3)
Cb dp

Figure 2.3: TAB distortion modeled as a damped spring-

mass system[10]

The Liu et al. drag model[5],
Rep 1 + 16 Re2/3
p Rep 1000
C d , sphere = (2.4a)
0.44 Rep > 1000

C d = C d , sphere (1 + 2.632y), (2.4b)

takes into account TAB distortion of the droplets by first calculating the drag coefficient
as a sphere, and then multiplying by a correction factor, based on the normalized particle
diameter, y. Due to the relatively low Weber numbers seen in the later results section, and in
the various references used, secondary atomization was proven to be very unlikely within
the type of liquid spray undergoing simulation. The reasonable conclusion would then be
that the mean Sauter diameter should increase with respect to distance from the injector
due to coalescence. As will be shown later in the results section, this has been proven to be


Within STAR-CCM+, collisions were modeled statistically using either the no time counter
(NTC) collision detection algorithm[14], or the ORourke[7] algorithm, depending on which
algorithm is fast in a particular element. The NTC algorithm begins by calculating the num-
ber of parcels in any given Eulerian cell, and then takes into account the number of droplets
within each parcel using the following equation,

t Xp Xp
M coll = (q i q j v i , j i , j ), (2.5)
2V i =1 j =1

where M coll is the probability of all possible collisions, v i , j is the relative velocity between
two colliding parcels, V is the cell volume, N p is the number of parcels in a cell, and q i is
the number of droplets in parcel i. i , j is defined to be the collision cross-section of the
two droplets,
(d i + d j )2
i , j = . (2.6)
The ORourke algorithm is a direct technique, since it considers all possible collision
partners. The probability of any given droplet colliding with any other droplet is,

v i , j i , j t
pi , j = . (2.7)
The mean expected number of collisions between a droplet in parcel i and the droplets in
parcel j is calculated to be,
v i , j i , j t
= q j . (2.8)
The number of collisions is determined by sampling from a Poisson distribution with the a
mean equal to the expected number of collisions.

Figure 2.4: Flow chart of the STAR-CCM+ collision-
outcome algorithm[2]

Collisions may result in simple bouncing, coalescence, or breaking up of the droplets, de-
pending on certain criteria derived from the average Weber number and impact factor be-
tween two parcels. Figure 2.4 shows the algorithm used to predict the likelihood of various
outcomes, where Yr,2 is a random number selected between one and zero. The collision-
outcome criteria are defined as,
h 2.4 f () i
E coal = min 1.0, , (2.9a)
h We 1/3 i
E boun = min 1.0, , (2.9b)
2.4 f ()
f () = 3 2.42 + 2.7, (2.10a)
= d i , di > d j . (2.10b)

Naturally, this collision model is likely to be heavily dependent on the number of parcels
contained within the simulation, as well as the size of the mesh used to discretize the phys-
ical domain. From Equation 2.5, there seems to be two ways to increase the accuracy of the
NTC collision model. The first way is to simply increase the number of parcels available,
but at great computational expense. The alternative method would be to coarsen the grid,
but at the cost of accuracy of reproducing the Eulerian flow, and therefore, the drag effects
on the droplets themselves. This issue is discussed in the conclusion of this paper.

The STAR-CCM+ simulation was validated by using two different methods of comparing
the size distributions and mean Sauter diameters between the results from this study and
Santoyala et al. Figure 2.5 contains two data sets; one from the experiment, and one from
the simulation, showing the growth of the weight factor of various droplet sizes. This figure

Figure 2.5: Growth of weight fraction with respect to parti-
cle diameter.

shows good qualitative agreement between the two curves; however, but with a significant
offset upwards. The experiment showed that the extrema for the growth in weight fraction
was found to be roughly x i ,min = 0.85 and x i ,max = 0.70, whereas the extrema for the
simulation were found to be x i ,min = 0.07 and x i ,max = 0.11. However, the simulation
and the experiment show very good agreement in predicting which size droplets would see
the greatest change in weight fraction. Figure 2.6 shows the size distributions at two dif-
ferent distances from the injector for both the experiment and the simulation. While the
experiment and simulation show good qualitative agreement, demonstrating that coales-
cence is taking place throughout the entire range of particle diameters, there are differences
in their distribution shapes. In particular, the simulation predicts a significantly wider size
distribution at z=36 mm. This could be partly attributed to Santolaya et al simply not mea-
suring the number of droplets. However, there seems to be a significant overestimation
of the weight fractions near the higher end of the diameter range. Alternatively, the mean
Sauter diameter at two different locations from the injector, and for the domain as a whole,
were also compared, as can be seen in Table 2.4. However, the good agreement between
the results from the experiment and the simulation with respect to the mean Sauter diam-
eter suggests that the flaws within the simulation that resulted in quantitative and minor
qualitative differences are not insurmountable.

Table 2.4: Comparison of Mean Sauter Diameter

z [mm] d exp [microns] d sim [microns]
9 48.5 48.3
36 57.8 56.7
Total 58.4 58.1

(a) Experimental (b) Simulation

(c) Experimental and simulation

Figure 2.6: Comparison of size distributions at distances z = 9mm and z = 36mm


downstream from the injector

While the two phase nature of the flow requires models that make grid convergence stud-
ies difficult to perform, the flow for the Eulerian phase is partially validated by agreement of
results for the Lagrangian phase, since the physics between the two media are coupled. Ad-
ditional comparisons, including the time-averaged velocity with respect to distance from
the injector, would be very helpful in accomplishing this. However, due to a dearth of in-
formation about the behavior of the entrained gas in these types of flows within this field
that is not possible at the moment. As such, it would be a valuable topic of study for future


Data was collected in the form of tables for both the gas and liquid droplets at a time
interval equal to two simulation time steps. Data points were averaged among the droplets
within each parcel, and a 200 by 200 grid, bisecting the physical domain along the stream-
wise direction, was used to extract data points from the gas. Velocity and vorticity magni-
tude data was interpolated across the grid and plotted for each time step using a MATLAB[6]
code (see Appendix 5.1.1) written by the authors. These plots were then used to produce
movies (see Appendix 5.1.3) so that the data could be visualized easily with respect to time 1 .
The particle data instead was averaged over the time scale for the flow equal to 0.001 sec-
onds. This data was then separated (see Appendix 5.1.2) into three regions so that it could
be interpolated at several cross-sections, including the y=0 mm, z=9 mm, and z=36 mm
planes. Droplet data of interest included velocity components, droplet size, collisions, and
position coordinates. The total data collected amounted to roughly 750 MB.

Flow visualization movies for the continuous phase may be viewed at:
Axial Velocity
Radial Velocity
Vorticity Magnitude

As mentioned in the previous section, variable data for the continuous phase was col-
lected from 40,000 locations for each time step. The data, including the axial velocity, ra-
dial velocity, and vorticity magnitude, were interpolated using MATLAB in order to produce
plots. This was then done for every other time step over a period of time equaling 0.001 sec-
onds. From this, flow visualization movies were rendered so that the flow physics could be
more easily understood. The main flow phenomena of interest here is entrainment of the
continuous phase by the particles, dispersion of velocity gradients, and the transition from
laminar to turbulent flow.
In Figure 3.1, the axial and radial velocity, as well as the vorticity magnitude, can be seen
at a single point in time. Full movies showing these plots changing in time can be found in
footnotes from Section 2.3. From looking at the axial velocity, one can see the evolution of
the flow as it passes from the injector to the outflow boundary. Directly in front of the injec-
tor is what can be described as a laminar jet, which transitions to a laminar instability just
before degenerating into a fully turbulent regime. This behavior is far more easily observed
in the movie, particularly the onset of laminar instability. From the radial velocity, as well
as the vorticity magnitude, plots one will find a great deal of mixing taking place within the
turbulent region. Evidence for this can be found in coherent structures with velocities of
opposite sign to the predominant flow near the injector. In the vorticity magnitude plot,
regions of high shear stress are located from the injector to the outflow boundary condi-
tion; however, this shear begins to diffuse quickly once it is convected downstream into
the turbulent region. From the vorticity plot, one can also see evidence of coherent vortex
structures throughout the transition in turbulent flows. All of these things demonstrate the
effects of momentum transfer from the droplets to the gas phase, resulting in significant
entrainment. This results in a negative feedback response because this diminishes the av-
erage slip velocity on the particle near the x-axis, and eventually reduces the drag forces
on the particles, as well as further transfer of momentum into the flow. A full understand-
ing of the behavior of the continuous phase has not yet been explored comprehensively.
However, this aspect of the flow physics is important since the turbulent mixing will play
an important role in the behavior of the droplets themselves, as one will see later in this


Just as the continuous phase was visualized from flow variables using selected data points,
the Lagrangian phase was similarly plotted using data averaged from each parcel. This data,
instead of being plotted for a single plane, was instead plotted for three different planes.
The first plane was the data with respect to "r" and "z", averaged onto the y-plane. The
other two planes were cross-sections of the flow at different locations downstream and
along "z". Among the various quantities for which data was collected included axial and
radial velocities, location of collision, particle diameter, particle density, and particle

(a) Continuous Phase: Axial Velocity (b) Continuous Phase: Radial Velocity

(c) Continuous Phase: Vorticity Magnitude

Figure 3.1: Interpolated data extracted from the surrounding air


Figure 3.2: Lagrangian Phase Axial Velocity (z-plane)

(a) z = 9mm

(b) z = 36mm

Figure 3.3: Lagrangian Phase: Axial Velocity


Figure 3.4: Lagrangian Phase Radial Velocity (z-plane)

(a) z = 9mm

(b) z = 36mm

Figure 3.5: Lagrangian Phase: Radial Velocity


Figure 3.6: Lagrangian Phase Collisions (z-plane)

(a) z = 9mm

(b) z = 36mm

Figure 3.7: Lagrangian Phase: Collisions


Figure 3.8: Lagrangian Phase Particle Diameter (z-plane)

(a) z = 9mm

(b) z = 36mm

Figure 3.9: Lagrangian Phase: Particle Diameter


Figure 3.10: Lagrangian Phase Particle Density (z-plane)

(a) z = 9mm

(b) z = 36mm

Figure 3.11: Lagrangian Phase: Particle Density


Figure 3.12: Lagrangian Phase Particle Reynolds Number (z-plane)

(a) z = 9mm

(b) z = 36mm

Figure 3.13: Lagrangian Phase: Particle Reynolds Number

Reynolds number.
Figures 3.2 & 3.3 show the axial (or downstream) velocity of the droplets. From the first
figure, there are two main features that should be given attention. The first is located near
the origin, which corresponds to the injector, where the velocity steeply drops along the
inner edge of the spray cone. This is evidence that the majority of fine droplets located near
the center of the spray transfer their momentum quickly to the entrained gas. This is due to
the fact that while the drag force is proportional to the square of the diameter, the droplet
mass is proportional to the cube of the diameter. As a result, the mass of the finer droplets
is far less when compared to the average droplet. The other feature found in Figure 3.2 is
the behavior of the larger droplets which have clustered near the outer edge of the cone
due to centripetal forces. One can easily see that the larger droplets are able to maintain a
significantly higher velocity in contrast to the smaller droplets. However, another aspect of
the larger droplets behavior is that the velocity gradient diminishes as the droplets continue
downstream. This is a consequence of several different flow phenomena. The first is due
to turbulent mixing of the continuous phase, which acts to blend together particles with
different velocities. This helps to enhance the effects of the second phenomenon, which
is the collision of the droplets with one another. The rate of collisions is proportional to
the relative velocities between the respective particles. The outcome of these two effects is
a well dispersed stream droplets with a wide variation of velocities. These effects are also
evident in Figure 3.3, in which the axial velocity of the particles is shown at distances of
z=9 mm and z=36 mm downstream from the injector. Close to the injector outlet, one can
see a distribution of particles with relatively little differences in velocity, and yet there is a
defined gradient with the higher velocity particles tending toward the center. In contrast,
at z=36 mm, there is a wide variation of different velocities, but they are well mixed and
distributed evenly throughout. These same flow features may be found in Figure 3.4 & 3.5,
which display the radial velocity of the particles in each of the planes of interest.
The majority of the collisions between droplets in the spray take place immediately in
front of the injector outlet, as can be seen in Figures 3.6 & 3.7. This is due to the droplets
exiting the injector outlet and colliding with the fine droplets that have lost their momen-
tum to the continuous phase and stagnated. It is easy to infer from this that the collision
Weber number
l |v i , j |2 (d i + d j )
We = (3.1)

for the majority of the interactions will be very small, and most of the collisions are ex-
pected to have a high impact parameter. This will result in bouncing as the most likely
collision outcome. Instead, the majority of collisions where coalescence is the outcome
takes place further downstream in a thin region that begins near the outer surface of the
spray cone and eventually diffuses toward the center (see Figure 3.6). Figure 3.7 plots the
collisions at the downstream point where the collisions have already begun to diffuse. But
one can see that the number of collisions, while more spread out, diminish in frequency.
Plots of the droplet diameter are contained in Figure 3.8 & 3.9. The first figure shows
two effects worth noting. The first is the tendency of the largest droplets to cluster near the
outside surface of the spray cone. This is due to the centripetal forces imparted on the spray
by the injectors swirl angle. One can also find evidence of turbulent mixing near the outflow

boundary where the particle sizes become less stratified. Additionally, one can find a small
region immediately in front of the injector outlet, where the size noticeably increases. It
is at this point where the majority of collisions are occurring, demonstrating that some
coalescence is taking place. Just downstream of this location, the average particle diameter
drops, as the larger droplets resulting from coalescence diffuse into the surrounding flow.
Furthermore, one will find in Figure 3.9 that these observations are confirmed regarding
stratification and mixing. Most prominently, this figure clearly demonstrates that the mean
Sauter diameter increases significantly between z=9 mm and z=36 mm, which is evidence
that coalescence is dominate.
The particle density, which is shown plotted in Figures 3.10 & 3.11 is not, in fact, the
density of the liquid within the droplets. Instead, it serves to show where the majority of
droplets reside within the flow. Both figures show that the number of particles is concen-
trated near the center of the spray. This is the one quantity of the Lagrangian phase that
seems to be effected completely differently from the others, in that the particle density be-
comes even more stratified as the spray passes through the turbulent region. This is a result
of the coalescence and turbulent mixing which takes place. Particle density is directly de-
pendent on the narrowness or wideness of the size distribution. From Figure 2.6 in the
previous section shows that as the spray passes downstream, the size distribution has be-
come larger due to coalescence. Furthermore, the mixing that takes place as a result of
turbulence is necessary for smaller droplets to fill the gaps between the larger ones. Be-
cause the mixing is most pronounced near the center of the spray, this is what facilitates a
more stratified particle density within a cross-section of the flow.
The Reynolds number is shown in Figure 3.12 & 3.13. This quantity is important, since it
has an inverse relationship with respect to the drag coefficient on the droplets. The highest
Reynolds number particles may be found on the outer surface of the spray cone, but di-
minishes both upstream and downstream from roughly z=25 mm. The fact that the highest
Reynolds number would be found in the same region as the largest droplets is unsurpris-
ing. However, the drop of the Reynolds number in both z-directions is noteworthy. The
reason for the lower mean Reynolds number is due to the lack of large droplets, since they
have not yet formed due to coalescence. Further downstream, the mean Reynolds number
drops due to the increased mixing, which facilitates additional momentum transfer be-
tween the droplets and the gas. This has the effect of slowing the droplets and accelerating
the gas, resulting in a lower slip velocity, and thus a lower Reynolds number.

The purpose of this project was to accurately reproduce the results published by Santo-
laya et al and to comprehensively survey the simplifying assumptions and computational
models used to simulate a liquid spray passing through a stationary gas continuum. Results
from the Santolaya paper were reproduced using an Euler-Lagrange FVM simulation, com-
puted on STAR-CCM+, a commercial CFD code. The continuum phase was modeled using
the Navier-Stokes equations coupled with a dynamically scaled LES turbulence model. The
Lagrangian phase was modeled statistically using the parcel volume method and imple-
mented the Liu drag model, TAB distortion model, and the NTC/ORourke collision prob-
ability model. The physics between the two phases was coupled by applying an added
momentum source to the Navier-Stokes equations based on the mean drag force exerted
on the droplets within a grid element. When the results of the simulation were compared
with those of the experiment, good qualitative agreement was found between the two, in-
cluding accurate prediction of the mean Sauter diameter at various locations and within
the physical domain as a whole. One significant difference was the difference in change of
the weight fractions at the extrema. Recommendations for improvements to the simulation
will be discussed in the following section.
The other goal of this work was to explain the macroscopic effects of the spray on the
continuous phase, as well as to investigate how the addition of fine droplets would alter
the overall flow physics. Macroscopic effects of the spray on the continuous phase include
shear layers forming instabilities which then degenerate into turbulence. This has feedback
effects, which result in changes to drag forces, probability of collisions, and size distribu-
tions. These can have either stratifying or mixing effects, depending on the flow physics
that dominate. The main link between the Eulerian and Lagrangian phases are the added
momentum term in the Navier-Stokes equations and the drag forces on the droplets by
the gas, respectively. In looking at how fine particles influence the behavior of the spray,
small droplets were found to exchange momentum with the continuous phase more read-
ily, and thus bringing the two media into equilibrium more quickly. From the results ob-
tained during this research, one can conclude that if fine droplets were added to the spray
at the expense of larger droplets while all other variables are kept constant, this would re-
sult in a higher gas velocity and a lower droplet velocity, due to their higher projected area
to volume ratio. On the other hand, if fine droplets were added to the spray in addition to
the previous size distribution, this would result in a higher velocity for both the continu-
ous phase and the largest droplets. This is because more momentum would be transferred
to the gas (the fine particles can be treated as an additional density to the entrained gas
due to collisions with larger droplets) decreasing the slip velocity, and therefore drag forces
experienced by the largest size droplets.

Recommendations for future research include examining the statistical models used in
computing Euler-Lagrange simulations in STAR-CCM+. While the parcel volume method
helps to keep the computational expense of running these types of simulations, their re-
quirements for accurate modeling of the droplets often conflicts with the best practices
of simulating a turbulent continuum flow. This becomes apparent when the parcel vol-
ume method requires coarsening of the mesh in order to accurately model the collision
probability, but additional refinement will serve to increase the accuracy of the turbulence
model. Investigation should be made into finding a happy medium which optimizes the
accuracy and efficiency of both models. An additional recommendation would include in-
creasing the number of parcels within a simulation, and examining the effects (if any) on
its accuracy. Lastly, while the TAB distortion model has been used for years to simulate the
effects of aerodynamics on droplet shape, it seems unlikely that assuming a droplets shape
alone excluding its orientation or an angular velocity will suffice while demands for accu-
racy continue to grow. The authors of this paper suggest that correlation curves may be
developed using calculus of variations to evaluate a droplets shape that will improve upon
the older models. Of course, a discrete element based, rather than a parcel volume based
method, will always be more accurate for the foreseeable future if implemented correctly.
It seems that, for fundamental research into liquid sprays and droplet interactions, a DEM
based model may be necessary, rather than preferable. If faithfulness to the flow physics
and droplet interactions are paramount, statistically based methods simply will not do.



% code by: peter Kozak --- 11/16/2015

close all; clear all; clc;

% introduction

% the purpose of this code is to extract data from .csv files and create an
% interpolant using MATLAB's scattered data interpolation function. once the
% interpolant has been created, the data may be plotted. the data from the
% different files may be used to calculate flow distributions.

% the operation of this code depends on data being of the form:

%Veli %Velk %Vort %Q-criterion %X %Y %Z


% extracting data


% initializing
i = 1;

% defining the csv files inside directory

files = dir('*.csv');

% looping through the csv files in order by name

for file = files'

A = csvread(,1,0); % calling an individual csv file

x = -A(:,5);
z = A(:,7); % position data
v = A(:,2); % scalar data
xmin = min(x);
xmax = max(x); % limits of the probe-grid
zmin = min(z);
zmax = max(z);
F = scatteredInterpolant(z,x,v); % creating interpolant

% creating a test grid evaluating the interpolant at the test region

[Z,X] = meshgrid(linspace(zmin,zmax,1000),linspace(xmin,xmax,1000));


% creating and saving plots as .png files


figure1 = figure('Position', [100, 100, 1900, 600]);

% creating the figure

% creating axes
axes1 = axes('Parent',figure1,'XTick',-3:1:13,'CLim',[10 500000]);
set(gca,'xlim',[0 0.05])
set(gca,'ylim',[-0.025 0.025])

% sizing and turning off the figure as it loops

% set(gcf,'PaperUnits','inches','PaperPosition',[0 0 19 6])

str2 = ['w_test_',num2str(i)];

% creating surf plots and saving

h = colorbar('NorthOutside');
xlabel(h,'Axial Velocity [m/s]')

i = i + 1; % iterating



% Peter Kozak --- 11/16/2015

close all; clear all; clc;

% introduction
% the purpose of this code is to extract and combine data from .csv files,
% then seperate out the desired data at an approximate streamwise location.

% the operation of this code depends on data being of the form:

%Veli %%Velj %Velk %parcel_vol %particle_count %particle_diameter

%particle_drag_i %particle_drag_j %particle_drag_k %re %svelu

%svelv %svelk %weber %number_collisions %X %Y



% extracting data


i = 1; % initializing

% defining the csv files inside directory

files = dir('*.csv');

% calculating the number of files

[nfiles, ndata] = size(files);

% looping through the csv files in order by name

for file = files'

if i == 1

A = csvread(,1,0); % calling an individual csv file


A_temp = csvread(,1,0); % calling an individual csv file

A = [A; A_temp]; % adding to the matrix


str = num2str(i/nfiles*100);
disp(str); disp(' %'); % displaying progress

i = i + 1; % iterating


% saving the data for later reference



% seperating data

% getting size of A for the for-loop

[nrows, ncolumns] = size(A);

% initializing
B = []; % temporary storage of data points
j = 1; % setting counter

% setting the location in the streamwise direction and tolerance

z_0 =9;
eps = 0.001;

for i = 1:nrows

z = A(i,18); % calculating location

if (z-z_0/1000)^2 <= eps^2 % comparing with desired location

B(j,:) = A(i,:); % true: save value
j = j+1; % true: advancing counter
% false: do nothing

str = num2str(i/nrows*100); % displaying progress

disp(str); disp(' %');


% saving the data for later reference




% code by: peter Kozak --- 11/16/2015

close all; clear all; clc;

% introduction

% the purpose of this code is to render an .avi movie from a set of .png
% plots of flow quantities.

% the operation of this code depends on a set of image files with the name:

% "w_test_<i>.png"

% defining the object writerObj, which will compile the movie, and defining
% the name of the output file
writerObj = VideoWriter('w_continuous_test.avi');

writerObj.FrameRate=5; % setting frame-rate at 5 fps

open(writerObj); % opening video editor


i = 1; % initializing

% defining the .png files inside directory

files = dir('*.png');

% looping through the png files in order by name

for file = files'

filename = sprintf('w_test_%d.png', i); % calling .png file

thisimage = imread(filename); % reading the file
writeVideo(writerObj, thisimage); % appending it to the movie

i = i + 1; % iterating


% closing the video editor and saving the file



[1] Ansys Inc. (2009). Fluent 12.0 UserAZs Guide.

[2] CD-Adapco. (2012). USER GUIDE: STAR-CCM+, V 7.04

[3] Daly, B. J., & Harlow, F. H. (1970). Transport equations in turbulence. Physics of Fluids
(1958-1988), 13(11), 2634-2649.

[4] Germano, M., Piomelli, U., Moin, P., & Cabot, W. H. (1991). A dynamic subgridARs-
cale eddy viscosity model. Physics of Fluids A: Fluid Dynamics (1989-1993), 3(7),

[5] Liu, A. B., Mather, D., & Reitz, R. D. (1993). Modeling the effects of drop drag and
breakup on fuel sprays (No. TP-930072).

[6] The Mathworks, Inc. (2012). The language of technical computing.


[7] ORourke, P. J. (1981). Collective drop effects on vaporizing liquid sprays (No. LA-
9069-T). Los Alamos National Lab., NM (USA).

[8] ORourke, P. J., & Amsden, A. A. (1987). The TAB method for numerical calculation of
spray droplet breakup (No. 872089). SAE Technical Paper.

[9] Pawar, S., Padding, J., Deen, N., Jongsma, A., Innings, F., & Kuipers, J. H. (2015). Nu-
merical and experimental investigation of induced flow and dropletASdroplet in-
teractions in a liquid spray. Chemical Engineering Science, 138, 17-30.

[10] Ricardo Consulting Engineers Ltd. VECTIS Version 3.3 UserAZs Manual.

[11] Rosin, P., & Rammler, E. (1933). Gesetzmassigkeiten in der Kornzusammensetzung

des Zementes. Zement, 31, 427-433.

[12] Sandia National Laboratories. CUBIT manual.

[13] Santolaya, J. L., Garcia, J. A., Calvo, E., & Cerecedo, L. M. (2013). Effects of droplet col-
lision phenomena on the development of pressure swirl sprays. International Journal
of Multiphase Flow, 56, 160-171.

[14] Schmidt, D. P., & Rutland, C. J. (2000). A new droplet collision algorithm. Journal of
Computational Physics, 164(1), 62-80.

[15] Tennekes, H., & Lumley, J. L. (1972). A first course in turbulence.