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ICLASS 2015, 13th Triennial International Conference on Liquid Atomization and Spray Systems, Tainan, Taiwan, August 23-27,


Encapsulation and separation in collision between immiscible liquid drops

Lokesh M1, Anand T.N.C1.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, and
National Centre for Combustion Research and Development,
Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India

Studies on binary drop collisions have been performed in literature to understand the physical phenomena
which occur during the process. They also have applications of interest in modelling engines for example, where
collision and coalescence are likely to be prevalent due to the dense nature of the sprays and the low droplet-
droplet distance. In the present study, the collision behavior of two immiscible liquid drops namely a water drop
and an n-Heptane drop of varying drop size ratios has been investigated experimentally. Experiments were
performed at an atmospheric environment of 298 K and 101.325 kPa. Two mono-disperse droplet streams
generated by piezoelectric droplet stream generators were used for the collision study. Collision outcomes were
studied for size ratio of 1, at different Weber-numbers for non-dimensional impact-parameter B.The results from
the experiments describe the boundaries of collision outcomes namely encapsulation and separation as a function
of the impact parameter B and relative velocity Ur.

Keywords: Droplet collisions, encapsulation, separation


Binary drop collisions have been studied for several years for understanding the nature of collision
phenomena. Most findings have focused on collision of like and unlike liquids of importance. Ashgriz and Poo
[1] studied the collision of water droplets of different size ratios in atmospheric air for a Weber number (We)
range up to 100; they also reported the formation of satellite drops during separation. This process is important in
rainfall [2]. Collision outcomes of hydrocarbon liquids are quite different than water because of their different
rheological properties [3]. Qian and Law reported the effect of liquid and surrounding gas properties on collision
phenomena [4].
Gao et al. [5] conducted experiments on binary droplets of two different miscible liquids, of same size, i.e.,
water and ethanol and they considered the fluid of lower surface tension value for calculating Weber number.
Recent experimental investigations on collisions of immiscible liquids namely diesel oil and water performed by
Chen and Chen [6], and on aqueous phase and silicon oil by Roisman et al.,[7].
In the present experimental analysis we have studied separation and encapsulation phenomena of two
immiscible drops of same size i.e. n-Heptane and water.

Experimental method:
Two mono-disperse streams of droplets were generated by using piezoelectric droplet stream generators
fabricated on the lines of designs in literature [8]. A continuous liquid stream of approximately the diameter of the
orifice hole is produced by pressurizing the liquid cylinder. Then the jet is disturbed with acoustic energy and it
breaks up into a stream of mono-disperse drops. The diameter of the drops produced here is approximately twice
the orifice diameter. Acoustic wave-form induced onto the liquid jet was generated by piezoelectric transducer
fitted with droplet generator, which is driven by a square wave signal supplied from a DC power source. We used
two separate vessels for producing the continuous liquid jet of water and n-Heptane, where the liquids were
pressurized using Nitrogen gas. The Weber number was changed by varying the mass flow rate of liquids and
angle between droplet streams. Here, we plot collision outcomes with respect to relative velocity U and non-
dimensional impact parameter, B. Figure 1 shows a schematic of the experimental apparatus. Images of the
droplets were obtained using an LED strobe and a high speed camera.
Figure 2 depicts the different parameters which are used in collision studies. For the immiscible droplets i.e.
n-heptane and water, liquid densities are  and  , surface tension values are  ,  , the drop size ratio  = 1,
and u and u are the velocities of these two colliding droplets, respectively. Ur is the relative velocity between the
droplets,  is the collision angle between the trajectories of drops, and the dimensional impact parameter x is the
closest distance between the centers of the two colliding droplets.

Corresponding author
ICLASS 2015, 13th Triennial International Conference on Liquid Atomization and Spray Systems, Tainan, Taiwan, August 23-27, 2015

Figure 1. Experimental setup

Figure 2 Schematic of the collision between two immiscible droplets of diameter D1 and D2.

The collision parameters and non-dimensional numbers for which characterize the droplet collision process
are defined below.
The liquid jet velocity can be calculated by measuring the diameter of the droplet [9] as:

u d D (1)

Where f is the disturbance frequency, u is liquid jet velocity, d is jet diameter (same as orifice diameter) and D
is droplet size measured from images.

The relative velocity between two colliding drops is given by:

U = (u + u − 2u u cos ) (2)
ICLASS 2015, 13th Triennial International Conference on Liquid Atomization and Spray Systems, Tainan, Taiwan, August 23-27, 2015

Weber number is given by:

 DU
We =  (3)

Where  and  are the liquid density and surface tension values of n-Heptane.

The non-dimensional impact parameter is given by:

B=x D (4)

where B is the non-dimensional impact parameter. Droplet stream positions were changed to vary impact
parameter using micro positioning stages.

The drop size ratio is defined as:

= D (5)

where D1 and D2 are the droplet sizes of n-Heptane and water, respectively. In our experimental study,  = 1.

Results and Discussion

In our experimental analysis we used water as aqueous phase and n-Heptane as oil. Complete coalescence
and separation regimes were observed experimentally which are shown in the Figure 3. Generally, coalescence
occurs at very low relative velocity.

Figure 3: Left: Coalescence, a water drop is encapsulated by n-Heptane droplet, D=202 µm , U = 1.86
m/sec,We=23.3 and B= 0.20. Right: Reflexive separation with no satellites, D=202 µm , U = 1.92 m/sec
We=25.05 and B= 0.23. In all these images left stream of drops are water and right stream are n-Heptane drops.
ICLASS 2015, 13th Triennial International Conference on Liquid Atomization and Spray Systems, Tainan, Taiwan, August 23-27, 2015

Figure 4: Near head-on collision, examples of one-satellite drop created by reflexive separation of water drop with
n-Heptane drop. From left: D=200 µm , U = 2.41 m/sec We=38.33 and B ~ 0. D=200 µm , U = 2.43 m/sec, We=
38.93 and B ~0. D=200 µm , U= 2.48 m/sec, We=40.43 and B~ 0. D=200 µm , U= 2.49 m/sec and We=40.72,
B ~ 0.

Figure 5: Off-centre collision, examples of two-satellite drops created by reflexive separation of water drop with
n-Heptane drop. From left: D=198 µm , U = 2.39 m/sec, We= 37.92 and B= 0.225. D=198 µm , U = 2.44 m/sec,
We= 39.44 and B= 0.27. D=200 µm , U= 2.45 m/sec, We=39.75 and B= 0.278. D=198 µm , U= 2.44 m/sec and
B= 0.174, We=39.51.

From the experimental data, it is observed that reflexive separation occurs at U = 1.92 m/sec and B= 0.23,
with little mass transfer during the process. But an increase in the relative velocity leads to increase in mass
transfer and a number of smaller drops or satellite drops are formed, which are shown in Figure 4 and Figure 5.
Figure 4 shows near head-on collision, with B~ 0.0. At this point, we observe the initial formation of a
cylindrical shape and then separation with one satellite drop. The number of satellite drops grows further with an
ICLASS 2015, 13th Triennial International Conference on Liquid Atomization and Spray Systems, Tainan, Taiwan, August 23-27, 2015

increase in the impact parameter shown in Figure 5 because the cylinder expands further, leading to the formation
of one or more satellites which are smaller than satellites formed in single reflex separation
Stretching separation with multiple satellites was also observed at U = 3.65 m/sec and B= 0.23, as shown in
Figure 6.

Figure 6: Stretching separation of water drop with n-Heptane drop. Left: D=198 µm, U = 3.62 m/sec We= 87.49
and B= 0.13. Right: D=198 µm , U = 3.65 m/sec, B= 0.23 and We=89.67.

Summary and Conclusions

Experimental results on collision of pairs of two immiscible liquid droplets of n-Heptane with water were
obtained. Collision regimes of immiscible liquids are quite different than collisions of same liquid drops. We have
shown specific cases where coalescence and separation occurs. It was observed that encapsulation or coalescence
of n-Heptane with water of same size can be achieved at very low relative velocities, and increase in relative
velocity leads to separation.

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