Fuel atomization with prefilming airblast nozzles has been investigated. The present analysis is directed toward a detailed investigation of the atomization processes and the clarification of the fundamental phenomena. Two-dimensional models were utilized. High-speed films, showing the deterioration of the liquid film close to the atomizing edge, reveal the dynamics of the liquid’s deterioration and show the motion of the film during the drop formation. The liquid separation is shown to be a periodic process with the drop formation caused by momentum transfer. The frequency spectrum of the liquid separation is determined by means of an optical technique. It is seen that the main frequencies depend only on the air velocity. They are always lower than the corresponding wave frequencies. The droplet size measurements obtained by a light scattering technique emphasize the dominant role of the air velocity at the atomizing edge. A decrease in the surface tension provides an improvement in atomization quality. Other parameters such as liquid flow rate, liquid viscosity, gap height, and length of the prefilming surface within the nozzle were found not to affect directly the droplet size distribution produced, if the air velocity in each of the two ducts of the nozzle is kept constant. The pressure drop of the air, however, rises. It is shown that the droplet size distribution can be easily determined, if the arithmetic mean value of the air velocity in both ducts is known, e.g., from a calculation of the internal flow. Due to the high liquid mass flow rates of airblast nozzles, the wavy film is partly atomized within the nozzle before the liquid separates at the atomizing edge. The measurements show that the portion of the liquid mass flow atomized remains relatively small and that the droplet sizes are equivalent to those produced at the atomizing edge.

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