Biological sprays and aerodynamically assisted bio-jets are increasingly employed in treatment of living cells and organisms for applications in regenerative medicine, tissue repair, and advanced therapeutics. The liquid used in biological applications cover a wide range of viscosities and surface tensions. Determining conditions that achieve steady and uniform drop distribution for a range of properties of the liquid jet is critical in advancing biological applications.
In this study, numerical simulations of jet breakup are carried out using a modified volume of fluid (VOF) approach to capture the interface. The interplay of viscosity and surface tension is studied by varying liquid properties. Simulations show that a high viscosity jet stretches and elongates before a liquid segment detaches. Based on the thickness of the liquid thread connecting the detaching drop to the main liquid stream, two fundamentally different modes of liquid pinch off have been predicted: thick-thin and thin-thick. In the thick-thin mode, the liquid jet has a growing drop at its edge. As this drop grows in size, the liquid stream stretches till the drop is pinched off the liquid stream. In the other mode in addition to the pinch off of drops from the jet, ligaments of liquid break off. The change in the breakup mode is primarily governed by the relative magnitude of the viscous force compared to surface tension with high viscous force leading to thin-thick liquid stretching and pinch off. Thick-thin stretching is seen to produce slow moving satellite drops that merge backwards with the oncoming drop, while thin-thick stretching is noticed to result in faster satellite drops that merge forwards. On the other hand when surface tension force dominates, non-merging satellite drops are formed that move with a speed close to the primary drops.