Drop formation from particulate suspensions
Furbank, Roy Jeffrey
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This research presents an experimental study of the formation of drops of suspensions consisting of a viscous liquid and spherical, neutrally buoyant, noncolloidal particles. Pendant drop formation and low Reynolds number jetting of suspensions are investigated, as is the transition between the two. Throughout, the particles utilized are on the order of 100 μm and the orifice from which the drops are formed is on the order of 1 mm. The presence of the particulate phase causes the structure at pinch-off in the pendant drop regime to change noticeably from that of pure liquids. Thick cone-like structures, termed "spindles" here, form at either end of the slender thread and are the result of particle motions during necking. These spindles become more pronounced with increasing particle concentration. Depending on particle concentration, the particles can have either a destabilizing effect (low concentration) on drop formation or a stabilizing one (high concentration). At low concentrations, the particles lead to earlier rupture of the thread and much shorter jet lengths, while at elevated concentrations the particles stabilize the thread after rupture and lead to fewer satellite drops as well as induce jetting at lower flower rates. A two-stage model has been proposed to describe the necking process for particle-laden suspensions in the pendant drop regime. The first stage occurs when the thread is thick relative to the particles and the effect of the particles can be attributed solely to a change in the effective viscosity of the mixture. The second stage occurs nearer pinch-off when the thread has thinned to only a few particle diameters. In this stage the individual particle motions within the thread determine the behavior and the thread ultimately ruptures over a region of the thread devoid of particles.