Mixing and internal dynamics of droplets impacting and coalescing on a solid surface

Castrejón-Pita, JR ; Kubiak, KJ ; Castrejón-Pita, AA ; Wilson, MCT ; Hutchings, Ian Michael (2013-08-26)


The coalescence and mixing of a sessile and an impacting liquid droplet on a solid surface are studied experimentally and numerically in terms of lateral separation and droplet speed. Two droplet generators are used to produce differently colored droplets. Two high-speed imaging systems are used to investigate the impact and coalescence of the droplets in color from a side view with a simultaneous gray-scale view from below. Millimeter-sized droplets were used with dynamical conditions, based on the Reynolds and Weber numbers, relevant to microfluidics and commercial inkjet printing. Experimental measurements of advancing and receding static contact angles are used to calibrate a contact angle hysteresis model within a lattice Boltzmann framework, which is shown to capture the observed dynamics qualitatively and the final droplet configuration quantitatively. Our results show that no detectable mixing occurs during impact and coalescence of similar-sized droplets, but when the sessile droplet is sufficiently larger than the impacting droplet vortex ring generation can be observed. Finally we show how a gradient of wettability on the substrate can potentially enhance mixing.