Analysis of viscous fluid flow in a pressure-swirl atomizer using large-eddy simulation

E. Laurila*, J. Roenby, V. Maakala, P. Peltonen, H. Kahila, V. Vuorinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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A computational fluid dynamics study is carried out on the inner nozzle flow and onset of liquid sheet instability in a large-scale pressure-swirl atomizer with asymmetric inflow configuration for high viscosity fluids. Large-eddy simulations (LES) of the two-phase flow indicate the unsteady flow character inside the nozzle and its influence on liquid sheet formation. A novel geometric volume-of-fluid (VOF) method by Roenby et al. (2016), termed isoAdvector, is applied for sharp interface capturing. We carry out a Reynolds number sweep (420 ≤ Re ≤ 5300) in order to investigate the link between the asymmetric inner nozzle flow and liquid sheet characteristics in laminar, transitional and fully turbulent conditions. Inside the nozzle, the numerical simulations reveal counter-rotating Dean vortices, flow impingement locations, and strong asymmetric flow features at all investigated Reynolds numbers. A helical, rotating gaseous core is observed when Re ≥ 1660. For laminar flow (Re=420), an S-shaped liquid film is observed, while the gas core presence at Re ≥ 1660 results in a hollow cone liquid sheet. For the intermediate value Re=830, the numerical simulations indicate a liquid sheet of mixed type. Consequences of the inflow asymmetry and Reynolds number to the uniformity of the injected liquid mass distribution and liquid sheet instability are pointed out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-388
Number of pages18
Early online date15 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Hollow cone spray
  • isoAdvector
  • Large-eddy simulation
  • LES
  • Pressure-swirl atomizer
  • Primary atomization
  • Two-phase flow
  • VOF
  • Volume-of-fluid method

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