Computational fluid dynamics simulation of fluid particle fragmentation in turbulent flows
Journal article, 2014

A simulation methodology is presented that allows detailed studies of the breakup mechanism of fluid particles in turbulent flows. The simulations, based on large eddy and volume of fluid simulations, agree very well with high-speed measurements of the breakup dynamics with respect to deformation time and length scales, and also the resulting size of the daughter fragments. The simulations reveal the size of the turbulent vortices that contribute to the breakup and how fast the interaction and energy transfer occurs. It is concluded that the axis of the deformed particle and the vortex core axis are aligned perpendicular to each other, and that breakup sometimes occurs due to interaction with two vortices at the same time. Analysis of the energy transfer from the continuous phase turbulence to the fluid particles reveals that the deformed particle attains it maximum in interfacial energy before the breakup is finalized. Similar to transition state theory in chemistry this implies that an activation barrier exists. Consequently, by considering the dynamics of the phenomenon, more energy than required at the final stage needs to be transferred from the turbulent vortices for breakup to occur. This knowledge helps developing new, more physical sound models for the breakup phenomenon required to solve scale separation problems in computational fluid dynamics simulations.


Large eddy simulations


Activation barrier




Volume of fluid





Ronnie Andersson

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemical Reaction Engineering

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering Design

A. Hehni

Eindhoven University of Technology

Applied Mathematical Modelling

0307-904X (ISSN)

Vol. 38 17-18 4186-4196

Subject Categories

Chemical Engineering



More information

Latest update