Making droplets glow in turbulence

Humberto Bocanegra Evans, Nico Dam, Guus Bertens, Willem Van De Water

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We present a new technique to study preferential concentration of droplets in a turbulent air flow. Preferential concentration is the tendency of droplets to cluster in regions of strain, while avoiding regions of rotation. We study the properties of the droplet concentration field in zero mean flow turbulence that was created using an array of synthetic jets. The droplets are made of a phosphorescent solution of Europium chelate. They are excited by a laser sheet from a pulsed UV laser, after which the glowing droplets are followed using a high-speed intensified camera. We quantify preferential concentration through measurement of moments of the coarse-grained local droplet density. At the Stokes numbers studied (St≈2) the fractal dimension, a scaling property of this coarse-grained density field, points to clustering. Clustering is a consequence of the compressibility of the droplet velocity field. We also quantify the dynamical behavior of clustering by moving with this velocity field. We find a preference for clustering in the Lagrangian frame during the time interval set by the decay of the phosphorescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044303
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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