Droplet dynamics under an impinging air jet

Zih Yin Chen, Alireza Hooshanginejad, Satish Kumar, Sungyon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Partially wetting droplets under an airflow can exhibit complex behaviours that arise from the coupling of surface tension, inertia of the external flow and contact-line dynamics. Recent experiments by Hooshanginejad et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 901, 2020) revealed that a millimetric partially wetting water droplet under an impinging jet can oscillate in place, split or depin away from the jet, depending on the magnitude (i.e.) and position of the jet. To rationalise the experimental observations, we develop a two-dimensional lubrication model of the droplet that incorporates the external pressure of the impinging high-Reynolds-number jet, in addition to the capillary and hydrostatic pressures of the droplet. Distinct from the previous model by Hooshanginejad et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 901, 2020), we simulate the motion of the contact line using precursor film and disjoining pressure, which allows us to capture a wider range of droplet behaviours, including the droplet dislodging to one side. Our simulations exhibit a comparable time-scale of droplet deformations and similar outcomes as the experimental observations. We also obtain the analytical steady-state solutions of the droplet shapes and construct the minimum criteria for splitting and depinning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA32
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jul 25 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S.L. and Z.-Y.C. are partly funded by the National Science Foundation (CBET-2032354 and CMMI-2042740). S.K. acknowledges partial support from the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CBET-1935968.

Publisher Copyright:


  • contact lines
  • drops
  • lubrication theory


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