Experiments in Fluids

, 56:103 | Cite as

Spray features in the near field of a flow-blurring injector investigated by high-speed visualization and time-resolved PIV

  • Lulin Jiang
  • Ajay K. AgrawalEmail author
Research Article


In a flow-blurring (FB) injector, atomizing air stagnates and bifurcates at the gap upstream of the injector orifice. A small portion of the air penetrates into the liquid supply line to create a turbulent two-phase flow. Pressure drop across the injector orifice causes air bubbles to expand and burst thereby disintegrating the surrounding liquid into a fine spray. In previous studies, we have demonstrated clean and stable combustion of alternative liquid fuels, such as biodiesel, straight vegetable oil and glycerol by using the FB injector without requiring fuel pre-processing or combustor hardware modification. In this study, high-speed visualization and time-resolved particle image velocimetry (PIV) techniques are employed to investigate the FB spray in the near field of the injector to delineate the underlying mechanisms of atomization. Experiments are performed using water as the liquid and air as the atomizing gas for air to liquid mass ratio of 2.0. Flow visualization at the injector exit focused on a field of view with physical dimensions of 2.3 mm × 1.4 mm at spatial resolution of 7.16 µm per pixel, exposure time of 1 µs, and image acquisition rate of 100 k frames per second. Image sequences illustrate mostly fine droplets indicating that the primary breakup by FB atomization likely occurs within the injector itself. A few larger droplets appearing mainly at the injector periphery undergo secondary breakup by Rayleigh–Taylor instabilities. Time-resolved PIV is applied to quantify the droplet dynamics in the injector near field. Plots of instantaneous, mean, and root-mean-square droplet velocities are presented to reveal the secondary breakup process. Results show that the secondary atomization to produce fine and stable spray is complete within a few diameters from the injector exit. These superior characteristics of the FB injector are attractive to achieve clean combustion of different fuels in practical systems.


Particle Image Velocimetry Large Droplet Droplet Velocity Taylor Instability Sauter Mean Diameter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the US Department of Energy Award EE0001733.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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