Multiphase modelling of the characteristics of close coupled gas atomization

  • Nicola Zeoli

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Not withstanding the high demand of metal powder for automotive and High Tech applications, there are still many unclear aspects of the production process. Only recentlyhas supercomputer performance made possible numerical investigation of such phenomena. This thesis focuses on the modelling aspects of primary and secondary atomization. Initially two-dimensional analysis is carried out to investigate the influence of flow parameters (reservoir pressure and gas temperature principally) and nozzle geometry on final powder yielding. Among the different types, close coupled atomizers have the best performance in terms of cost and narrow size distribution. An isentropic contoured nozzle is introduced to minimize the gas flow losses through shock cells: the results demonstrate that it outperformed the standard converging-diverging slit nozzle. Furthermore the utilization of hot gas gave a promising outcome: the powder size distribution is narrowed and the gas consumption reduced. In the second part of the thesis, the interaction of liquid metal and high speed gas near the feeding tube exit was studied. Both axisymmetric andnon-axisymmetric geometries were simulated using a 3D approach. The filming mechanism was detected only for very small metal flow rates (typically obtained in laboratory scale atomizers). When the melt flow increased, the liquid core overtook the adverse gas flow and entered in the high speed wake directly: in this case the disruption isdriven by sinusoidal surface waves. The process is characterized by fluctuating values of liquid volumes entering the domain that are monitored only as a time average rate: it is far from industrial robustness and capability concept. The non-axisymmetric geometry promoted the splitting of the initial stream into four cores, smaller in diameter and easier to atomize. Finally a new atomization design based on the lesson learned from previous cases simulation is presented.
Date of AwardJun 2011
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn G Swadener (Supervisor)


  • aerospike atomization nozzle
  • melt atomization
  • 3D multiphase modelling
  • primary and secondary break up

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