Interfacial stability and internal flow of a levitated droplet
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Under the microgravity environment, production of new and high quality material is expected. Large droplet is preferable for such a containerless processing in microgravity environment. There are a lot of previous studies for droplet levitation . However, effect of surface instability and internal flow appear remarkable when the droplet becomes large. Elucidation of effect of surface instability and internal flow of the levitated droplet is required for the quality improvement of new material. The objective of present study is to clarify critical conditions of the occurrence of the internal flow and the surface instability. At first, the condition between the stable region and the unstable region of the droplet levitation was evaluated by using the existing critical Weber number theory. The experimental result agreed well with the theory. It was suggested that the stability of droplet can be evaluated by using the theory for the interfacial instability. Finally, two-dimensional visual measurement was conducted to investigate the internal flow structure in a levitated droplet. The effect of physical properties on the internal flow structure of the droplet is investigated by Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) technique. As the result, it is indicated that the internal flow structure is affected by the physical property such as viscosity.