Direct numerical simulation of droplet-laden isotropic turbulence
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Interaction of liquid droplets with turbulence is important in numerous applications ranging from rain formation to oil spills to spray combustion. The physical mechanisms of droplet-turbulence interaction are largely unknown, especially when compared to that of solid particles. Compared to solid particles, droplets can deform, break up, coalesce and have internal fluid circulation. The main goal of this work is to investigate using direct numerical simulation (DNS) the physical mechanisms of droplet-turbulence interaction, both for non-evaporating and evaporating droplets. To achieve this objective, we develop and couple a new pressure-correction method with the volume-of-fluid (VoF) method for simulating incompressible two-fluid flows. The method's main advantage is that the variable coefficient Poisson equation that arises in solving the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations for two-fluid flows is reduced to a constant coefficient equation. This equation can then be solved directly using, e.g., the FFT-based parallel Poisson solver. For a $1024^3$ mesh, our new pressure-correction method using a fast Poisson solver is ten to forty times faster than the standard pressure-correction method using multigrid. Using the coupled pressure-correction and VoF method, we perform direct numerical simulations (DNS) of 3130 finite-size, non-evaporating droplets of diameter approximately equal to the Taylor lengthscale and with 5~\% droplet volume fraction in decaying isotropic turbulence at initial Taylor-scale Reynolds number $\Rey_\lambda=83$. In the droplet-laden cases, we vary one of the following three parameters: the droplet Weber number based on the r.m.s. velocity of turbulence ($0.1 \leq \Webrms \leq 5$), the droplet- to carrier-fluid density ratio ($1 \leq \rho_d/\rho_c \leq 100$) or the droplet- to carrier-fluid viscosity ratio ($1 \leq \mu_d/\mu_c \leq 100$). We derive the turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) equations for the two-fluid, carrier-fluid and droplet-fluid flow. These equations allow us to explain the pathways for TKE exchange between the carrier turbulent flow and the flow inside the droplet. We also explain the role of the interfacial surface energy in the two-fluid TKE equation through work performed by surface tension. Furthermore, we derive the relationship between the power of surface tension and the rate of change of total droplet surface area. This link allows us to explain how droplet deformation, breakup and coalescence play roles in the temporal evolution of TKE. We then extend the code for non-evaporating droplets and develop a combined VoF method and low-Mach-number approach to simulate evaporating and condensing droplets. The two main novelties of the method are: (i) the VOF algorithm captures the motion of the liquid gas interface in the presence of mass transfer due to evaporation and condensation without requiring a projection step for the liquid velocity, and (ii) the low-Mach-number approach allows for local volume changes caused by phase change while the total volume of the liquid-gas system is constant. The method is verified against an analytical solution for a Stefan flow problem, and the $D^2$ law is verified for a single droplet in quiescent gas. Finally, we perform DNS of an evaporating liquid droplet in forced isotropic turbulence. We show that the method accurately captures the temperature and vapor fields in the turbulent regime, and that the local evaporation rate can vary along the droplet surface depending on the structure of the surrounding vapor cloud. We also report the time evolution of the mean Sherwood number, which indicates that turbulence enhances the vaporization rate of liquid droplets.