Pressure-swirl nozzles (simplex nozzles) are used in various field applications such as aero-engines, power generation, spray painting and agricultural irrigation. For this particular nozzle, research in the past decade has dealt with the development of numerical models for predicting droplet distribution profiles. Although these results have been valuable, the experimental results have been contradictory, therefore fundamental understanding of the influence of properties in nozzle is important. This paper experimentally investigates the effect of surfactants on breakup and coalescence. Since most of the fuels and biofuels have low surface tension compared to water, a comparative analysis between a surfactant solution and a liquid fuel is imperative. For this experimental study, a simplex nozzle characterized as flow number 0.4 will be utilized. The injection pressures will range from 0.3–4Mpa while altering the surface tension from 72 to 28mN/m. By applying Phase Doppler Particle Anemometry (PDPA) which is a non-intrusive laser diagnostic technique, the differences in spray characteristics due to spray surface tension can be highlighted. The average droplet diameter decreases for a low surface tension fluid in the axial direction in comparison to pure water. The average velocity of droplets is surprisingly lower in the same spray zone. Measurements made in the radial direction show no significant changes, but at the locations close to the nozzle, water droplets have larger diameter and velocity. The results indicate the breakup and coalescence regimes have been altered when surface tension is lowered. A decrease in surface tension alters the breakup length while increasing the spray angle. Moreover, higher injection pressure shortens the breakup length and decrease in overall diameter of the droplets.
By performing this experimental study the fundamentals of spray dynamics, such as spray formation, liquid breakup length, and droplet breakup regimes can be observed as a function of surface tension and how a surrogate fuel compares with a real fuel for experimental purposes. This knowledge potentially will lead to designing a better atomizer or new biofuels.