Volume of fluid based model of heavy fuel oil droplet evaporation and combustion

Paolo Guida, Saumitra Saxena, William L. Roberts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Modern CFD simulations of combustion resolve simplified sub-models for droplet evaporation and combustion within a Lagrangian framework. Break-up effects like puffing and micro-explosions are usually neglected but, they eventually influence the evaporation and combustion behaviour of heavy fuel sprays. We are developing a Volume of Fluid (VoF)-based CFD solver that allows us to model single droplet differential evaporation with the break-up effects. Puffing/micro-explosion and droplet ejection proceed in three steps: nucleation of a bubble of a light component within the droplet, expansion/coalescence of the bubbles and finally eruption with sub-droplets formation. Our goal is to individually model each event and then combine them in a composite simulation. Henceforth we can get data in realistic conditions to be used in Lagrangian spray simulations. We identified three relevant features that are necessary to create a reliable representation: interface tracking, differential evaporation, and compressibility effect. The solver is based on the Volume of Fluid (VoF) technique and coded within the open-source OpenFOAM framework. VoF technique consists of transporting the volume fraction of one of the two phases (liquid or gas). The Navier-Stokes equations are solved for a single-phase but adapting the physical properties to the volume fraction value. A state-of-the-art method called iso-Advector was adopted to reconstruct the interface from the volume fraction field. The evaporation was implemented as a source term in the volume fraction equation, and the conservation equations were modified accordingly. In order to calculate the vapour and liquid physical properties, RKS equation of state (EOS) was implemented. The droplet was assumed to have 2 phases: light and heavy, having physical properties comparable to water and heavy fuel oil (HFO), respectively. The pressure closure equation was modified to handle large pressure differences during the internal evaporation of light components. The validation of the solver was performed through benchmark cases as multiphase shock-tube, droplet oscillation and boiling interface either with experimental works and analytical solutions. A single suspended droplet experiment was performed to measure the velocity of an ejected micro-droplet during puffing using a shadowgraphy technique. The code is able to predict ejection velocity within a 15% error, which seems to be promising. The present article documents part of the algorithm development and its validation. In particular, the step describing the ejection of the inner vapours is described.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVolume 4A: Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
ISBN (Print)9780791884126
StatePublished - Jan 11 2021


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