Vorticity dynamics in a spatially developing liquid jet inside a co-flowing gas

A. Zandian, W. A. Sirignano, F. Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A three-dimensional transient round liquid jet within a low-speed coaxial outer gas flow is numerically simulated and analysed via vortex dynamics ( analysis). Two types of surface deformations are distinguished, which are separated by a large indentation on the jet stem. First, there are those inside the recirculation zone behind the leading cap-directly affecting the cap dynamics and well explained by the local vortices. Second, deformations upstream of the cap are mainly driven by the Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) instability, unaffected by the vortices in the behind-The-cap region (BCR), and are important in the eventual atomization process. Different atomization mechanisms are identified and are delineated on a gas Weber number versus liquid Reynolds number map based on the relative gas-liquid velocity. In a frame moving with the liquid velocity, this result is consistent with prior temporal studies. A simpler and clearer portrait of similarity of the atomization domains is shown by using the relative gas-liquid axial velocity, i.e. and , and avoiding the widely used velocity ratio as a third key parameter. A detailed comparison of vorticity along the axis in an Eulerian frame versus a frame fixed to a surface wave reveals that the vortex development and surface deformations are periodic in the upstream region, but this periodicity is lost closer to the BCR. In the practical range of the density ratio and for early times in the process, axial vorticity is mainly generated by baroclinicity while streamwise vortex stretching becomes more important at later times and only at lower relative velocities when pressure gradients are reduced. The inertia, vortex, pressure, viscous and surface tension forces are analysed to delineate the dominant causes of the three-dimensional instability of the axisymmetric KH structure due to surface acceleration in the axial, radial and azimuthal directions. The inertia force related to the axial gradient of kinetic energy is the main cause of the axial acceleration of the waves, while the azimuthal acceleration is mainly caused by the pressure and viscous forces. The viscous forces are negligible in the radial direction and away from the nozzle exit in the axial direction. It is interesting to note that azimuthal viscous forces are important even at high , indicating that inertia is not totally dominant in this instability occurring early in the atomization cascade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-470
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Oct 25 2019


  • gas/liquid flow
  • vortex dynamics
  • vortex interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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