A numerical procedure for calculating droplet deformation in dispersing flows and experimental verification

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A three-step numerical procedure for studying droplet deformation in mixed, dispersing-type, flow fields is described. Finite element and numerical particle tracking techniques are used to obtain the history of shear and elongation rates along a particle trajectory in the flow field, and from this history, boundary integral techniques are used to determine the deformation a drop would experience along this path. This approach is then used to investigate the effect of a small change in geometry on the breakup behavior of drops in the annular gap flow between two eccentric cylinders. This flow geometry serves as an idealization of a rotor-stator dispersing device used for highly viscous fluid systems. It is found that an increase in eccentricity produces an increase in dispersing capability. Experiments in an eccentric cylinder geometry were performed to verify the simulation procedure. Under the experimental conditions considered, it is found that the simulations perform well, correctly predicting whether or not drop breakup occurs and the qualitative drop evolution behavior. The simulation procedure outlined in this paper can serve as an effective tool to determine drop breakup in dispersing geometries and hence to optimize dispersing procedures. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Chemical Engineering Science