Liquid Atomization


Linear instability predictions of liquid sheets injected into a gas medium are well established in the literature. These analyses are often used in Lagrangian-Eulerian spray simulations, a prominent simulation method, to model the dynamics occurring in the near-nozzle region. In the present work, these instability predictions are re-examined by first generalizing the treatment of interfacial conditions and related assumptions with a two-phase Orr-Sommerfeld (OS) system, and second, by employing highly-resolved-Volume-of-Fluid (VoF) simulations. After presenting some validation exercises for both the VoF and OS solvers, the OS predictions are compared to earlier studies from the literature leading to reasonable agreement in the limit as the boundary layer thickness tends to zero. Results from VoF simulations of liquid sheet injection are used to characterize the range of scales of the liquid structures immediately before atomization. The mean value in this range is found to be approximately two to three orders of magnitude larger than the corresponding predictions from previous studies. A two-phase mixing layer under the same physical conditions is used to examine this disparity, revealing that within the linear regime relatively good agreement exists between the VoF and OS predicted instability mechanism. However, the most unstable mode in the linear regime is too small to cause a fracture or atomization of the liquid sheet, and hence, cannot be directly responsible for the atomization. The generation of a much larger mode, which emerges well beyond the linear regime, is the one causing breakup.