Non-Newtonian flow effects on the coalescence and mixing of initially stationary droplets of shear-thinning fluids

Kai Sun, Tianyou Wang, Peng Zhang, Chung K. Law

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The coalescence of two initially stationary droplets of shear-thinning fluids in a gaseous environment is investigated numerically using the lattice Boltzmann method, with particular interest in non-Newtonian flow effects on the internal mixing subsequent to coalescence. Coalescence of equal-sized droplets, with one being Newtonian while the other is non-Newtonian, leads to the non-Newtonian droplet wrapping around the Newtonian one and hence minimal fine-scale mixing. For unequal-sized droplets, mixing is greatly promoted if both droplets are shear-thinning. When only one of the droplets is shear-thinning, the non-Newtonian effect from the smaller droplet is found to be significantly more effective than that from the larger droplet in facilitating internal jetlike mixing. Parametric study with the Carreau-Yasuda model indicates that the phenomena are universal to a wide range of shear-thinning fluids, given that the extent of shear thinning reaches a certain level, and the internal jet tends to be thicker and develops more rapidly with increasing extent of the shear-thinning effect.
Original languageEnglish
Article number023009
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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