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Linear Stability Analysis of a Viscous Liquid Sheet in a High-Speed Viscous Gas

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Air-assisted atomizers in which a thin liquid sheet is deformed under the action of a high-speed air flow are extensively used in industrial applications, e.g., in aircraft turbojet injectors. Primary atomization in these devices is a consequence of the onset and growth of instabilities on the air/liquid interfaces. To better understand this process, a temporal linear instability analysis is applied to a thin planar liquid sheet flowing between two semi-infinite streams of a high-speed viscous gas. This study includes the full viscous effects both in the liquid and gas basic states and perturbations. The relevant dimensionless groups entering the non-dimensional Orr–Sommerfeld equations and boundary conditions are the liquid and gas stream Reynolds numbers, the gas to liquid momentum flux ratio, the gas/liquid velocity ratio, the Weber number and the equivalent gas boundary layer to liquid sheet thickness ratio. Growth rates and temporal frequencies as a function of the wave number, varying the different dimensionless parameters are presented, together with neutral stability curves. From the results of this parametric study it is concluded that when the physical properties of gas and liquid are fixed, the momentum flux ratio is especially relevant to determine the instability conditions. It is also observed that the gas boundary layer thickness strongly influences the wave propagation, and acts by damping sheet oscillation frequency and growth. This is especially important because viscosity in the basic gas velocity profile has always been ignored in instability analysis applied to the geometry under study.

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Hauke, G., Dopazo 1,2, C., Lozano, A. et al. Linear Stability Analysis of a Viscous Liquid Sheet in a High-Speed Viscous Gas. Flow, Turbulence and Combustion 67, 235–265 (2001).

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