Singularities in Free Surface Flows

Sumeet Suresh Thete, Purdue University


Free surface flows where the shape of the interface separating two or more phases or liquids are unknown apriori, are commonplace in industrial applications and nature. Distribution of drop sizes, coalescence rate of drops, and the behavior of thin liquid films are crucial to understanding and enhancing industrial practices such as ink-jet printing, spraying, separations of chemicals, and coating flows. When a contiguous mass of liquid such as a drop, filament or a film undergoes breakup to give rise to multiple masses, the topological transition is accompanied with a finite-time singularity . Such singularity also arises when two or more masses of liquid merge into each other or coalesce. Thus the dynamics close to singularity determines the fate of about-to-form drops or films and applications they are involved in, and therefore needs to be analyzed precisely. The primary goal of this thesis is to resolve and analyze the dynamics close to singularity when free surface flows experience a topological transition, using a combination of theory, experiments, and numerical simulations. The first problem under consideration focuses on the dynamics following flow shut-off in bottle filling applications that are relevant to pharmaceutical and consumer products industry, using numerical techniques based on Galerkin Finite Element Methods (GFEM). The second problem addresses the dual flow behavior of aqueous foams that are observed in oil and gas fields and estimates the relevant parameters that describe such flows through a series of experiments. The third problem aims at understanding the drop formation of Newtonian and Carreau fluids, computationally using GFEM. The drops are formed as a result of imposed flow rates or expanding bubbles similar to those of piezo actuated and thermal ink-jet nozzles. The focus of fourth problem is on the evolution of thinning threads of Newtonian fluids and suspensions towards singularity, using computations based on GFEM and experimental techniques. The aim of fifth problem is to analyze the coalescence dynamics of drops through a combination of GFEM and scaling theory. Lastly, the sixth problem concerns the thinning and rupture dynamics of thin films of Newtonian and power-law fluids using scaling theory based on asymptotic analysis and the predictions of this theory are corroborated using computations based on GFEM.




Basaran, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Chemical engineering|Mechanical engineering|Physics

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server