Micro-droplet nucleation through solvent exchange in a turbulent buoyant jet

You-An Lee, Chao Sun, Sander G. Huisman, Detlef Lohse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Solvent exchange is a process involving mixing between a good solvent with dissolved solute and a poor solvent. The process creates local oversaturation which causes the nucleation of minute solute droplets. Such ternary systems on a macro-scale have remained unexplored in the turbulent regime. We experimentally study the solvent exchange process by injecting mixtures of ethanol and trans-anethole into water, forming a turbulent buoyant jet in the upward direction. Locally, turbulent mixing causes oversaturation of the trans-anethole following turbulent entrainment. We optically measure the concentration of the nucleated droplets using a light attenuation technique and find that the radial concentration profile has a sub-Gaussian kurtosis. In contrast to the entrainment-based models, the spatial evolution of the oversaturation reveals continuous droplet nucleation downstream and radially across the jet, which we attribute to the limited mixing capacity of the jet. Although we are far from a full quantitative understanding, this work extends the knowledge on solvent exchange into the turbulent regime, and brings in a novel type of flow, broadening the scope of multicomponent, multiphase turbulent jets with phase transition.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA11
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date6 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2022


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • multiphase flow
  • buoyant jets
  • microscale transport


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