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Charge-induced secondary atomization in diffusion flames of electrostatic spraysThe combustion of electrostatic sprays of heptane in laminar counterflow diffusion flames was experimentally studied by measuring droplet size and velocity distributions, as well as the gas-phase temperature. A detailed examination of the evolution of droplet size distribution as droplets approach the flame shows that, if substantial evaporation occurs before droplets interact with the flame, an initially monodisperse size distribution becomes bimodal. A secondary sharp peak in the size histogram develops in correspondence of diameters about one order of magnitude smaller than the mean. No evaporation mechanism can account for the development of such bimodality, that can be explained only in terms of a disintegration of droplets into finer fragments of size much smaller than that of the parent. Other evidence in support of this interpretation is offered by the measurements of droplet size-velocity correlation and velocity component distributions, showing that, as a consequence of the ejection process, the droplets responsible for the secondary peak have velocities uncorrelated with the mean flow. The fission is induced by the electric charge. When a droplet evaporates, in fact, the electric charge density on the droplet surface increases while the droplet shrinks, until the so-called Rayleigh limit is reached at which point the repulsion of electric charges overcomes the surface tension cohesive force, ultimately leading to a disintegraton into finer fragments. We report on the first observation of such fissions in combustion environments. If, on the other hand, insufficient evaporation has occurred before droplets enter the high temperature region, there appears to be no significant evidence of bimodality in their size distribution. In this case, in fact, the concentration of flame chemi-ions or, in the case of positively charged droplets, electrons may be sufficient for them to neutralize the charge on the droplets and to prevent disruption.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Gomez, Alessandro (Yale University New Haven, CT, United States)
Chen, Gung (Yale University New Haven, CT, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Combustion Science and Technology
Volume: 96
Issue: 3-Jan
ISSN: 0010-2202
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits