College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

New CoMFRE project to improve droplet breakup models

Michael Olsen, professor of mechanical engineering and Center for Multiphase Flow Research and Education faculty researcher, is leading a new project to enhance droplet breakup models. 

Olsen and co-PI, Rodney Fox, Distinguished Professor of chemical and biological engineering and executive director of CoMFRE, will investigate how turbulence intensity and fluid properties impact droplet breakup. 

The team will inject droplets into a flow chamber with a uniform turbulent field and take high-speed videos of the droplet as it is deformed and broken by turbulence. Different droplet sizes and fluid types will be filmed many times over to create a large body of videos that will be statistically analyzed to yield new insights on the droplet breakup process. 

Richer, more accurate droplet breakup models, including viscosity, surface tension, diameter and density data, will have a significant impact in the many chemical, pharmaceutical, and environmental protection processes that rely on the models.

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