Experimental investigation of the orthokinetic coalescence efficiency of droplets in simple shear flow

H.A.H. Mousa, W.G.M. Agterof, J. Mellema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The coalescence efficiency of two droplets in simple shear flow was experimentally investigated. The effects of the radius of the colliding droplets, the viscosity of the continuous medium, and the radii ratio on the coalescence efficiency were studied. The coalescence efficiency was determined from the critical angle, αcrit, above which the droplets coalesce and below which no coalescence takes place. It was found that the coalescence efficiency decreases and then increases with the flow number. The theories of the drainage models and the trajectory analysis were unable to predict the experimental results. This was attributed to the inadequacy of the existing expression used for the critical film thickness. On the basis of the experimental data obtained a new expression for the critical film thickness was proposed. The new expression predicts a decrease followed by an increase in the critical film thickness. The increase in the critical film thickness is, perhaps, due to instabilities that take place at the interfaces. Implementing the proposed expression for the critical film thickness, the experimentally measured coalescence efficiency, the capture angle and the contact time were successfully predicted. The experimental investigation revealed that the coalescence efficiency does not depend on the radii ratio in the range 0.7 to 1. The experimental investigation also showed that the coalescence efficiency increases as the viscosity of the continuous phase decreases. Measuring the capture angle showed that coalescence can take place either in the compression or in the extensional quadrant of the shear plane. A variation in the capture angle and the contact time was observed for a given fixed set of conditions. The change of the angle α with time was measured. The measured values were compared to those calculated from an equation derived by R. S. Allan and S. G. Mason (J. Colloid Interface Sci.17, pp. 383, 1962). A good agreement was obtained when the droplets were of equal radii and small in size. When the droplets were large in size and of different radii, the agreement was not satisfactory. Measuring the distance between the centers of the colliding droplets showed that the two droplets vibrated when they came close to each other.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of colloid and interface science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Simple shear
  • Stability
  • IR-73597
  • METIS-128975
  • Droplets
  • Emulsion
  • Coalescence efficiency

Cite this