The dynamics of milk droplet–droplet collisions

G. Finotello, R.F. Kooiman, J.T. Padding, K.A. Buist, A. Jongsma, F. Innings, J.A.M. Kuipers

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48 Citations (Scopus)
225 Downloads (Pure)


Spray drying is an important industrial process to produce powdered milk, in which concentrated milk is atomized into small droplets and dried with hot gas. The characteristics of the produced milk powder are largely affected by agglomeration, combination of dry and partially dry particles, which in turn depends on the outcome of a collision between droplets. The high total solids (TS) content and the presence of milk proteins cause a relatively high viscosity of the fed milk concentrates, which is expected to largely influence the collision outcomes of drops inside the spray. It is therefore of paramount importance to predict and control the outcomes of binary droplet collisions. Only a few studies report on droplet collisions of high viscous liquids and no work is available on droplet collisions of milk concentrates. The current study therefore aims to obtain insight into the effect of viscosity on the outcome of binary collisions between droplets of milk concentrates. To cover a wide range of viscosity values, three milk concentrates (20, 30 and 46 % TS content) are investigated. An experimental set-up is used to generate two colliding droplet streams with consistent droplet size and spacing. A high-speed camera is used to record the trajectories of the droplets. The recordings are processed by Droplet Image Analysis in MATLAB to determine the relative velocities and the impact geometries for each individual collision. The collision outcomes are presented in a regime map dependent on the dimensionless impact parameter and Weber (We) number. The Ohnesorge (Oh) number is introduced to describe the effect of viscosity from one liquid to another and is maintained constant for each regime map by using a constant droplet diameter (d∼700μm). In this work, a phenomenological model is proposed to describe the boundaries demarcating the coalescence-separation regimes. The collision dynamics and outcome of milk concentrates are compared with aqueous glycerol solutions experiments. While milk concentrates have complex chemical composition and rheology, glycerol solutions are Newtonian fluids and therefore easy to characterize. The collision morphologies of glycerol solutions and milk concentrates are similar, and the regime maps can be described by the same phenomenological model developed in this work. The regime of bouncing, however, was not observed for any of the milk concentrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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