The two-phase mixing layer formed between parallel gas and liquid streams is an important fundamental problem in turbulent multiphase flows. The problem is relevant to many industrial applications and natural phenomena, such as air-blast atomizers in fuel injection systems and breaking waves in the ocean. The velocity difference between the gas and liquid streams triggers an interfacial instability which can be convective or absolute depending on the stream properties and injection parameters. In the present study, a direct numerical simulation of a two-phase gas–liquid mixing layer that lie in the absolute instability regime is conducted. A dominant frequency is observed in the simulation and the numerical result agrees well with the prediction from viscous stability theory. As the interfacial wave plays a critical role in turbulence transition and development, the temporal evolution of turbulent fluctuations (such as the enstrophy) also exhibits a similar frequency. To investigate the statistical response of the multiphase turbulence flow, the simulation has been run for a long physical time so that time-averaging can be performed to yield the statistically converged results for Reynolds stresses and the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) budget. An extensive mesh refinement study using from 8 million to about 4 billions cells has been performed. The turbulent dissipation is shown to be highly demanding on mesh resolution compared with other terms in TKE budget. The results obtained with the finest mesh are shown to be close to converged results of turbulent dissipation which allow us to obtain estimations of the Kolmogorov and Hinze scales. The estimated Kolmogorov scale is found to be similar to the cell size of the finest mesh used here. The computed Hinze scale is significantly larger than the size of droplets observed and does not seem to be a relevant length scale to describe the smallest size of droplets formed in atomization.
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