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Jetting of viscous droplets from cavitation-induced Rayleigh–Taylor instability

  • Qingyun Zeng (a1), Silvestre Roberto Gonzalez-Avila (a1), Sophie Ten Voorde (a1) and Claus-Dieter Ohl (a1) (a2)


Liquid jetting and fragmentation are important in many industrial and medical applications. Here, we study the jetting from the surface of single liquid droplets undergoing internal volume oscillations. This is accomplished by an explosively expanding and collapsing vapour bubble within the droplet. We observe jets emerging from the droplet surface, which pinch off into finer secondary droplets. The jetting is excited by the spherical Rayleigh–Taylor instability where the radial acceleration is due to the oscillation of an internal bubble. We study this jetting and the effect of fluid viscosity experimentally and numerically. Experiments are carried out by levitating the droplet in an acoustic trap and generating a laser-induced cavitation bubble near the centre of the droplet. On the simulation side, the volume of fluid method (OpenFOAM) solves the compressible Navier–Stokes equations while accounting for surface tension and viscosity. Both two-dimensional (2-D) axisymmetric and 3-D simulations are performed and show good agreement with each other and the experimental observation. While the axisymmetric simulation reveals how the bubble dynamics results destabilizes the interface, only the 3-D simulation computes the geometrically correct slender jets. Overall, experiments and simulations show good agreement for the bubble dynamics, the onset of disturbances and the rapid ejection of filaments after bubble collapse. Additionally, an analytic model for the droplet surface perturbation growth is developed based on the spherical Rayleigh–Taylor instability analysis, which allows us to evaluate the surface stability over a large parameter space. The analytic model predicts correctly the onset of jetting as a function of Reynolds number and normalized internal bubble energy.


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Zeng et al. supplementary movie 1
Jetting of water droplet in experiment, simulation, Rdeq is 1.429 mm, laser energy is 2.2 mJ, movie of figure 5 (a).

 Video (429 KB)
429 KB

Zeng et al. supplementary movie 2
Jetting of water droplet in 2D axisymmetric simulation, Rdeq is 1.429 mm, movie of figure 5 (b).

 Video (1.7 MB)
1.7 MB

Zeng et al. supplementary movie 3
Jetting of water droplet in 3D simulation, Rdeq is 1.429 mm, movie of figure 5 (c).

 Video (3.5 MB)
3.5 MB


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