A computational study of thermally induced secondary atomization in multicomponent droplets

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7 Scopus citations


This study presents computational simulations of multicomponent and multiphase flows to reproduce the physical phenomena in the secondary atomization of a droplet induced by a hot temperature environment. The computational fluid dynamics model is based on the geometric volume of fluid method, with piecewise linear interface calculation reconstruction for accurate determination of the curvature and evaporation fluxes at the interface. The purpose of the model was to faithfully reproduce complex physical processes, such as internal gas cavity formation, liquid–vapour interface instability, cavity collapse and liquid jet ejection, and the pinch-off of a secondary droplet, leading to the microexplosion phenomenon that greatly enhances the evaporation rate of non-volatile liquid droplets. The solver was validated against the analytical solution in benchmark cases, and experimental data with bicomponent droplets reported in the literature. The developed model was used to predict the atomization of heavy fuel oil exposed at high temperatures under microgravity conditions. Different atomization regimes were identified, depending on the initial size of the internal bubbles. While small bubbles led to simple gas ejections, cavity collapse caused the larger bubbles to produce a jet formation. When the ratio between the bubble and droplet volumes was bigger than 0.7, microexplosions occurred. The results were found to be consistent with cases of bubble burst on flat surfaces, showing a strong dependence on the Ohnesorge number (Oh). Key observable quantities, particularly jet velocity and bubble cap drainage velocity, were found to agree with correlations reported in other studies. The similarities were also supported by studies extending over a wide range of simulations (4000 cases) at different Oh. An inversion in the dependence of the jet velocity on Oh (above a critical value Ohc) was observed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jan 25 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-01-28
Acknowledgements: The work was sponsored by the Clean Combustion Research Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Computational resources were provided by the KAUST Supercomputing Laboratory (KSL).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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