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Bubbling and jetting regimes in planar coflowing air–water sheets


The dynamics of a plane air sheet surrounded by a coflowing water film, discharging into stagnant air, is investigated by means of experiments and linear stability theory. For fixed values of the water-to-air thickness ratio, h = hw,0*/ha,0* ≃ 5.27, and of the air-to-water density ratio, S = ρaw ≃ 0.0012, two different flow regimes are experimentally observed depending on the values of two control parameters, namely the Weber number, defined as We = ρw uw,0*2 ha,0*/σ, and the velocity ratio, Λ = uw,0*/ua,0*, where uw,0* and ua,0* are the water velocity and the mean air velocity at the exit slit, respectively, and ha,0* and hw,0* are the half-thicknesses of the air and water sheets at the exit. The study focuses on the characterization of the transition between the two regimes found experimentally: a bubbling regime, leading to the periodic breakup of the air sheet, and a jetting regime, where both sheets evolve slowly downstream without breaking. With the aim of exploring whether the transition from the jetting to the bubbling regime is related to a convective/absolute instability transition, we perform a linear spatiotemporal stability analysis. The base flow is described by a simple model that incorporates the downstream evolution of the sheets, which shows excellent agreement with our experiments if the existence of a sufficiently long region of absolute instability, of the order of one absolute wavelength evaluated at the nozzle exit, is imposed as an additional requirement. Finally, we show that the transition is also properly captured by two-dimensional numerical simulations using the volume of fluid technique.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
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