Purdue University Graduate School
Thesis_Obenauf_vF.pdf (39.61 MB)

Experimental And Theoretical Characterization of Liquid Jet and Droplet Breakup In High-Speed Flows

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posted on 2022-04-18, 14:44 authored by Dayna ObenaufDayna Obenauf
The atomization of jets and droplets undergoing breakup in high-speed flows has been experimentally measured and theoretically modeled. Systems for producing individual droplet breakup and full jet breakup were designed, and a wide range of diagnostics were developed and adapted to measure the results with reduced uncertainty.

A detailed methodology for investigating high-speed sprays in the Purdue Experimental Turbine Aerothermal Lab is presented. Optical diagnostic techniques were carefully selected and optimized for the test section geometries and flow features, such that images could be collected at high frequencies of 20 kHz with high resolutions. Developed image processing routines are outlined to demonstrate how backlit imaging with specialized lenses allowed for more accurate spray depth measurements in supersonic conditions, which were then used in regression modeling routines to derive empirical correlations that factored in test section geometry, flow conditions, and injector design. A Mie scattering imaging technique was used for quantitative analysis of the supersonic spray plume profile and measurement of the spray width. 20 kHz shadowgraphy provided sufficient gradients for analysis of the unsteadiness of the spray and surrounding supersonic flow at the point of injection. Droplet sizes and velocities were measured in subsonic conditions using digital in-line holography, in which recent advancements to the reconstruction algorithm were implemented to reduce out-of-plane measurement uncertainty, and phase Doppler particle analysis.

The breakup of a single drop undergoing multi-mode breakup was analytically characterized, with the proposal of a new breakup criterion in the Taylor analogy breakup model. Hill vortices within the drop were proposed as a new flow mechanism promoting multi-mode breakup. Product drop sizes from the ring breakup were predicted and compared with experimental results.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Guillermo Paniagua

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

James Braun

Additional Committee Member 2

Paul Sojka

Additional Committee Member 3

Jun Chen