Ligament Mediated Fragmentation of Viscoelastic Liquids

TitleLigament Mediated Fragmentation of Viscoelastic Liquids
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKeshavarz B., Houze E.C, Moore J.R, Koerner M.R, McKinley G.H
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Start Page154502

The breakup and atomization of complex fluids can be markedly different than the analogous processes in a simple Newtonian fluid. Atomization of paint, combustion of fuels containing anti-misting agents as well as physiological processes such as sneezing are common examples in which the atomized liquid contains synthetic or biological macromolecules that result in viscoelastic fluid characteristics. Here we investigate the ligament-mediated fragmentation dynamics of viscoelastic fluids in three different canonical flows. The size distributions measured in each viscoelastic fragmentation process show a systematic broadening from the Newtonian solvent. In each case the droplet sizes are well described by Gamma distributions which correspond to a fragmentation/coalescence scenario. We use a prototypical axial step strain experiment together with high-speed video imaging to show that this broadening results from the pronounced change in the corrugated shape of viscoelastic ligaments as they separate from the liquid core. These corrugations saturate in amplitude and the measured distributions for viscoelastic liquids in each process are given by a universal probability density function, corresponding to a Gamma distribution with nminĀ = 4. The breadth of this size distribution for viscoelastic filaments is shown to be constrained by a geometrical limit which can not be exceeded in ligament-mediated fragmentation phenomena.