Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.24, No.1, 63-70, 2016
Asymmetric breakup of a droplet in an axisymmetric extensional flow
The asymmetric breakups of a droplet in an axisymmetric cross-like microfluidic device are investigated by using a three-dimensional volume of fluid (VOF) multiphase numerical model. Two kinds of asymmetries (droplet location deviation from the symmetric geometry center and different flow rates at two symmetric outlets) generate asymmetric flow fields near the droplet, which results in the asymmetric breakup of the latter. Four typical breakup regimes (no breakup, one-side breakup, retraction breakup and direct breakup) have been observed. Two regime maps are plotted to describe the transition from one regime to another for the two types of different asymmetries, respectively. A power law model, which is based on the three critical factors (the capillary number, the asymmetry of flow fields and the initial volume ratio), is employed to predict the volume ratio of the two unequal daughter droplets generated in the direct breakup. The influences of capillary numbers and the asymmetries have been studied systematically in this paper. The larger the asymmetry is, the bigger the one-side breakup zone is. The larger the capillary number is, the more possible the breakup is in the direct breakup zone. When the radius of the initial droplet is 20 mu m, the critical capillary numbers are 0.122, 0.128, 0.145, 0.165, 0.192 and 0.226 for flow asymmetry factor A(S) = 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5, respectively, in the flow system whose asymmetry is generated by location deviations. In the flow system whose asymmetry is generated by two different flow rates at two outlets, the critical capillary numbers are 0.121, 0.133, 0.145, 0.156 and 0.167 for A(S) = 1/21, 3/23, 1/5, 7/27 and 9/29, respectively. (C) 2015 The Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China, and Chemical Industry Press. All rights reserved.