Bouncing, coalescence, and separation in head-on collision of unequal-size droplets

Chenglong Tang, Peng Zhang, Chung King Law

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122 Scopus citations


The dynamics of head-on collision of unequal-size droplets were experimentally and theoretically investigated, with emphasis on identifying distinct collision outcomes and interpreting the size-ratio dependence. A unified regime diagram in terms of bouncing, permanent coalescence, and separation after coalescence was identified for hydrocarbon and water droplets in the parameter space of the size ratio and a collision Weber number. Experimental results show that the transition Weber number, Web-c, that separates the bouncing and permanent coalescence regimes, weakly depends on the size ratio, while the transition Weber number, Wec-s, that separates permanent coalescence and separation regimes, significantly increases with the size ratio. A theoretical model based on energy balance and scaling analysis was developed to explain the size-ratio dependence of Wec-s. The theoretical results show good agreement with the experimental data for tetradecane and decane droplets, with a moderate discrepancy for water droplets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022101
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 3 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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