Blown Away: The Shedding and Oscillation of Sessile Drops by Cross Flowing Air

  • Author / Creator
    Milne, Andrew J. B.
  • For drops sessile on a solid surface, cross flowing air can drive drop oscillation or shedding, based on the balance and interaction of aerodynamic drag force (based on drop size/shape and air speed) and adhesion/capillary forces (based on surface tension and drop size/shape). Better understanding of the above has applications to, e.g., fuel cell flooding, airfoil icing, and visibility in rain.

    To understand the basic physics, experiments studying individual sessile drops in a low speed wind tunnel were performed in this thesis. Analysis of high speed video gave time resolved profiles and airspeed for shedding. Testing 0.5 µl to 100 µl drops of water and hexadecane on poly(methyl methacrylate) PMMA, Teflon, and a superhydrophobic surface (SHS) yielded a master curve describing critical airspeed for shedding for water drops on all surface tested. This curve predicts behavior for new surfaces, and explains experimental results published previously. It also indicates that the higher contact angle leads to easier shedding due to decreased adhesion and increased drag.

    Developing a novel floating element differential drag sensor gave the first measurements of the microNewton drag force experienced by drops. Forces magnitude is comparable to gravitational shedding from a tilted plate and to simplified models for drop adhesion, with deviations that suggest effects due to the air flow. Fluid properties are seen to have little effect on drag versus airspeed, and decreased adhesion is seen to be more important than increased drag for easing shedding. The relation between drag coefficient and Reynolds number increases slightly with liquid-solid contact angle, and with drop volume. Results suggest that the drop experiences increased drag compared to similarly shaped solid bodies due to drop oscillations aeroelasticly coupling into the otherwise laminar flow.

    The bulk and surface oscillations of sessile drops in cross flow was also studied, using a full profile analysis technique to determine mode shapes. Oscillation frequency/mode shape is similar for cross flow and quiescent drops. The highest order models collected from the diffuse literature are seen to be reasonably accurate, except at maximum and minimum ranges of contact angle.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.