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Title: Yield-stress drops
Author: German, Guy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 697X
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2010
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The behaviour of viscoplastic drops during formation and detachment from a capillary nozzle, free-fall, impact on a solid substrate and subsequent spreading are investigated experimentally by high-speed imaging. Drop dynamic behaviour is an integral component of many contemporary industrial processes ranging from fuelinjection systems in combustion engines to spray coating, agrochemical and pharmaceutical delivery, fire extinguishment and ink-jet printing. Yield-stress fluids are commonly used nowadays in products ranging from mayonnaise to hair-gel. It is hoped that through understanding the dynamics of viscoplastic fluids, additional spray applications can be developed that will help to advance and optimise industrial processes. Viscoplastic fluids exhibit shear-thinning behaviour when the applied stress exceeds a certain threshold value, called the yield-stress. Below this threshold however, the fluid behaves like an elastic solid. By comparing the behaviour of viscoplastic drops with both Newtonian and shear-thinning fluids, yield-stress is shown to be capable of altering detachment behaviour, drop shape during free-fall, impact morphology and the final sessile shape of drops after spreading. For drops attached to the end of a capillary tube, growth continues until a maximum supportable tensile stress is reached in the drop neck. After this critical point, drops become unstable and detach. The critical break-up behaviour of low yield-stress drops is found to be similar to those of Newtonian and shear-thinning fluids. Above a threshold value however, characterised in terms of the ratio between yield-stress magnitude and capillary pressure, yield-stress forces exceed surface tension forces and the maximum tensile stress achievable in the drop neck at critical stability is governed by the extensional yield-stress, established using the von Mises criterion. This threshold value can also be used to characterise equilibrium drop shapes during free-fall. Whereas Newtonian, shear-thinning and low yield-stress fluids form near spherical equilibrium drop shapes, fluids above a threshold value become increasingly more prolate as the yield-stress increases. Upon impact, viscoplastic drops can exhibit central peaks at the end of inertial spreading. The influence of yield-stress magnitude on impact behaviour is qualitatively established by measuring the size of these peaks. Peaks indicate that deformation during impact is localized and within a threshold radius, shear stresses will not be large enough to overcome the yield-stress, therefore fluid within this region will not deform from the drop shape prior to impact. After impact, spreading will be dependent on the surface energy. Again, the ratio of the yield-stress magnitude to the capillary pressure can be used to characterise the final sessile drop shape. Whilst the equilibrium contact angle of Newtonian, shear-thinning and low yield-stress drops is independent of the yield-stress magnitude, above a threshold value, contact angles vary as a function of yield-stress magnitude. Whilst the research presented in this thesis highlights how fluid yield-stress can influence drop dynamics, some results are only qualitative. To establish more quantitative results, computational fluid dynamics methods should be used to examine viscoplastic drop dynamics. This research should focus primarily on impact behaviour, an aspect that has not received much attention previously. Modelling shear-thinning and viscoplastic fluid behaviour can be achieved by incorporating the relevant rheological models into the flow equations and examining impact morphology using a volume of fluid method. Numerical results can then be directly compared with the experimental results. Useful further experimentation could examine the relaxation behaviour of diamagnetically levitated viscoplastic drops. The results from this work could provide further insight into what rheological model best describes viscoplastic behaviour for shear-stresses below the yield-point.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: viscoplastic drop behaviour ; shear-thinning fluids ; impact morphology ; Yield-stress fluids ; Aerosols