Date of Award

Winter 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

NIvedita R Gupta


Drop formation in co-flowing fluids and drops rising in a tube are important in applications such as microencapsulation and enhanced oil recovery. A hybrid volume-of-fluid method with a front-tracking scheme is developed to study two-phase flows in the presence of surfactants at finite Reynolds numbers. Both fluids can be Newtonian or shear-thinning, and surfactants are soluble in the adsorption-desorption limit. A drop in the co-flowing geometry typically breaks up at the primary neck. The drop breaks faster with smaller volumes as the outer flow rate increases or the drop viscosity decreases. When surfactants are present, they accumulate in the neck region resulting in Marangoni stresses that slow down the neck thinning rate. This results in longer breakup times with larger drop volumes. At high surfactant coverages, the primary neck formation slows down enough and breakup occurs at the secondary neck. Increasing outer co-flowing flow weakens the retarding effect of the high surfactant coverage leading to breakup again at the primary neck. The adsorption-desorption kinetics also affects the neck breakup position, and the primary drop volume and breakup time depend non-linearly on the Biot number. The presence of a confining wall may lower the value of the critical equilibrium fractional coverage required for the drop to enter the no-necking regime. As the drop becomes more shear-thinning, the drop breaks up faster with a shorter remnant drop length. Multiple satellite drops are observed at breakup with strongly shear-thinning drop fluid at high coverage of soluble surfacants. The buoyancy-driven motion of drops in a tube is investigated by determining the steady shapes and velocities of the drops as a function of the drop size. Higher buoyancy force leads to larger deformation of drops and increased terminal velocities. Higher inertia increases the terminal velocity of drops and results in the development of negative curvatures at the rear of the drop. The non-uniform distribution of surfactants at the interface gives rise to Marangoni stresses that retard the drop motion though the drop shapes remain unaffected.