Mechanisms of heat and mass transfer to and from single drops freely-suspended in an air stream

  • George Oteng-Attakora

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A specially-designed vertical wind tunnel was used to freely suspend individual liquid drops of 5 mm initial diameter to investigate drop dynamics, terminal velocity and heat and mass transfer rates. Droplets of distilled, de-ionised water, n-propanol, iso-butanol, monoethanolamine and heptane were studied over a temperature range of 50oC to 82oC. The effects of substances that may provide drop surface rigidity (e.g. surface active agents, binders and polymers) on mass transfer rates were investigated by doping distilled de-ionised water drops with sodium di-octyl sulfo-succinate surfactant. Mass transfer rates decreased with reduced drop oscillation as a result of surfactant addition, confirming the importance of droplet surface instability. Rigid naphthalene spheres and drops which formed a skin were also studied; the results confirmed the reduced transfer rates in the absence of drop fluidity. Following consideration of fundamental drop dynamics in air and experimental results from this study, a novel dimensionless group, the Oteng-Attakora, (OT), number was included in the mass transfer equation to account for droplet surface behaviour and for prediction of heat and mass transfer rates from single drops which exhibit surface instability at Re>=500. The OT number and the modified mass transfer equation are respectively: OT=(ava2/d).de1.5(d/) Sh = 2 + 0.02OT0.15Re0.88Sc0.33 Under all conditions drop terminal velocity increased linearly with the square root of drop diameter and the drag coefficient was 1. The data were correlated with a modified equation by Finlay as follows: CD=0.237.((Re/P0.13)1.55(1/We.P0.13) The relevance of the new model to practical evaporative spray processes is discussed.
Date of Award1995
Original languageEnglish


  • Mechanisms
  • heat
  • mass
  • transfer
  • single drops freely-suspended
  • air stream

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