Based on both experimental observations and available numerical methods, an innovative 2D approach for determining droplet size during the atomization process has been developed. Based on experimental evidences (see [1] and [2]) atomization of turbulent high speed jets is assumed to occur in a two stage process: ligaments detachment and droplets formation. The simulation method here proposed wants to take the advantages typical of the two most effective methods in spray investigation. It joins LES (i.e Large Eddy Simulations) approach and Linear Stability Analysis: the first one is used to solve the liquid-air fluid dynamics interaction and in particular the instabilities leading to ligament formation. The second one is finally adopted to compute the droplet size spectrum from ligament break-up. Therefore dynamics of ligament formation is directly computed while droplet formation is modelled by using a Linear Stability Analysis. The numerical simulation adopts a VOF (i.e. Volume of Fluid) method to track liquid-gas interface. Turbulence effects on liquid surface are accounted for by adding a turbulent flow field at the nozzle exit which represents a part of the boundary condition of the computational domain. A physical criterion is then applied to detach ligaments from liquid jet surface which will reduce in diameter during simulation. The droplet formation is then computed by applying the linear stability analysis to the ligaments, assumed being circular and subject to circulation. An extensive validation and sensitivity analysis has been carried out in order to assess method advantages and limits. The experimental results of Wu et al. [3] and Horoyasu et al. [4] were used as test cases. A sensitivity analysis has been performed under typical HSDI Diesel engine injection conditions. The method proved to exhibit promising attitude in the reconstruction of the droplet size spectrum depending on injection parameter or conditions.

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