On the Threshold of Drop Fragmentation under Impulsive Acceleration

We examine the complete landscape of parameters which affect secondary breakup of a Newtonian droplet under impulsive acceleration. A Buckingham-Pi analysis reveals that the critical Weber number Wecr for a non-vibrational breakup depends on the density ratio (ρ), the drop (Ohd) and the ambient (Oho) Ohnesorge numbers. Volume of fluid (VOF) multiphase flow simulations are performed using Basilisk to conduct a reasonably complete parametric sweep of the non-dimensional parameters involved. It is found that, contrary to current consensus, even for Ohd≤0.1, a decrease in Ohd has a substantial impact on the breakup morphology, motivating plume formation. In addition to ρ, Oho also affects the balance between pressure differences between a droplet's pole and its periphery, and the shear stresses on its upstream surface, which ultimately dictates the flow inside the droplet. This behavior manifests in simulations through the observed pancake shapes and ultimately the breakup morphology (forward or backward bag). All these factors affecting droplet deformation process are specified and theories explaining the observed results are provided. A Wecr−Ohd plot is provided to summarize all variations in Wecr observed due to changes in the involved non-dimensional parameters. All observed critical pancake and breakup morphologies are summarized using a phase diagram illustrating all deformation paths a droplet might take under impulsive acceleration. Finally, based on the understanding of process of bag breakup gained from this work, a non-dimensional parameter to predict droplet breakup threshold is derived and tested on all simulation data obtained from this work and all experimental data gathered from existing literature.

Computational resources provided by the Covid-19 HPC Consortium through time on Blue Waters (NCSA) were used for the simulations. S.D. and A.P.’s participation was supported by the DOE Office of Science through the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL), a consortium of DOE national laboratories focused on response to COVID-19, with funding provided by the Coronavirus CARES Act.



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