Liquid atomization processes generating sprays and aerosols of droplets are used in many delivery and coating systems involving pure solvents, solutions, and suspensions. In our recent experimental work, we introduced a novel liquid atomization process generating microsprays and aerosols of submicron-diameter droplets for pure solvents, solutions, and suspensions: gas jets disintegrate thin liquid films that are formed as bubbles approach a liquid surface. Here, we develop a theoretical description of droplet sizes and flow rates, using the first principles of conservation of mass and energy, and employing dimensional and scale analyses. We introduce atomization diagrams as a graphical tool to determine possible, impossible, and expected droplet diameters and specific flow rates in aerosols and sprays produced under various conditions. We find a reasonable agreement between the theory and experiments for five different liquids converted into aerosols of submicron-diameter droplets by an atomization process where gas jets disintegrate thin liquid films that are formed as bubbles approach a liquid surface, and also for five traditional pressure nozzles that produce sprays of droplets of hundreds of microns in diameter. Our study explores the overall range of mean droplet diameters between 0.1 and 100 µm and Ohnesorge numbers between 0.01 and 100, and the analysis and atomization diagrams contribute to understanding of liquid atomization and can serve as a theoretical framework for comparing different liquid atomization techniques.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computational Mechanics
- Modeling and Simulation
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes