Simulating liquid droplets: A quantitative assessment of lattice Boltzmann and Volume of Fluid methods

Siddhartha Mukherjee*, Ahad Zarghami, Cees Haringa, Kevin van As, Saša Kenjereš, Harry E.A. Van den Akker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


While various multiphase flow simulation techniques have found acceptance as predictive tools for processes involving immiscible fluids, none of them can be considered universally applicable. Focusing on accurate simulation of liquid-liquid emulsions at the scale of droplets, we present a comparative assessment of the single-component multiphase pseudopotential lattice Boltzmann method (PP-LB, classical and modified) and the Volume of Fluid method (VOF, classical and modified), highlighting particular strengths and weaknesses of these techniques. We show that a modified LB model produces spurious velocities 1–3 orders of magnitude lower than all VOF models tested, and find that LB is roughly 10 times faster in computation time, while VOF is more versatile. Simulating falling liquid droplets, a realistic problem, we find that despite identical setups, results can vary with the technique in certain flow regimes. At lower Reynolds numbers, all methods agree reasonably well with experimental values. At higher Reynolds numbers, all methods underpredict the droplet Reynolds number, while being in good agreement with each other. Particular issues regarding LB simulations at low density ratio are emphasized. Finally, we conclude with the applicability of VOF vis-à-vis PP-LB for a general range of multiphase flow problems relevant to myriad applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-78
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Emulsions
  • Liquid droplets
  • Multiphase flows
  • Pseudopotential Lattice Boltzmann
  • Volume of fluid


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