ALE Simulations of Droplet Deformation
in Aerodynamic Flows

The deformation and breakup of droplets in aerodynamic flows involves complex coupling between aerodynamic forces and droplet response. Three-dimensional calculations of droplet deformation due to surface tension and aerodynamic drag are investigated. An Arbitrary-Lagrange-Eulerian (ALE) finite-element code with a Lagrange formulation and re-map is utilized for the calculations. The code supports Navier-Stokes compressible flows with multiple materials. A surface-tension model based on minimizing element surface energy was added to the ALE code to allow explicit modeling of droplet response. Numerical simulations of rigid spheres are compared with experiment and accurately predict the aerodynamic drag. Next, modal analysis for stationary oscillating drops is examined and computations are compared with analytical solutions. Finally, the deformation dynamics of drops at low Weber number (We < 100) are investigated in subsonic and supersonic flows.


ALE3D Droplet Modeling with Surface Tension

ALE3D Droplet modeling


Experimental Results from ALPHA Facility
(a vertical, supersonic wind tunnel used to examine liquid fragmentation)*

1. Test if continuum correlations are still true in rarefied environments
2. Provide validation data for computational modeling capability

ALPHA results


*These experiments were led by Theofanis Theofanous at the University of California Santa Barbara.


For more information, contact Roxana Greenman at:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
P.O. Box 808, L-183
Livermore, CA 94551

Phone: (925) 424-2501
Fax: (925) 423-5804

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