International Journal of Multiphase Flow, Vol.56, 81-92, 2013
Collision between high and low viscosity droplets: Direct Numerical Simulations and experiments
Binary droplet collisions are of importance in a variety of practical applications comprising dispersed two-phase flows. In the present work we focus on the collision of miscible droplets, where one droplet is composed of a high viscous liquid and the other one is of lower viscosity. This kind of collisions take place in, for instance, spray drying processes when droplets with different solid content collide in recirculation zones. The aim of this paper is to investigate the details of the flow inside the colliding droplets. For this purpose, two prototype cases are considered, namely the collision of equal sized droplets and the collision between a small and highly viscous droplet and a bigger low viscous droplet. A new experimental method has been developed in order to visualize the penetration and mixing process of two colliding droplets, where a fluorescence marker is added to one liquid and the droplets are excited by a laser. The results show a delay in the coalescence which takes place during the initial stage of a collision of droplets with different viscosities. Direct Numerical Simulations based on the Volume-of-Fluid method are used to study these collisions and to allow for a more detailed inspection of the mixing process. The method is extended to consider a second liquid with a different viscosity. In order to reproduce the delay of coalescence, an algorithm for the temporal suppression of the coalescence is applied. A predictive simulation of the delay is not possible, because the extremely thin air gap separating the droplets cannot be resolved by the numerics. This approach is validated by comparison with experimental data. The results provide local field data of the flow inside the collision complex, showing in particular a pressure jump at the liquid-liquid interface although no surface tension is present. The detailed analysis of the terms in the momentum balance show that the pressure jump results from the viscosity jump at the liquid-liquid interface. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.