Water droplet condensation and evaporation in turbulent channel flow

E. Russo, J.G.M. Kuerten, B.J. Geurts, C.W.M. Geld, van der

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We propose a point-particle model for two-way coupling of water droplets dispersed in the turbulent flow of a carrier gas consisting of air and water vapour. We adopt an Euler–Lagrangian formulation based on conservation laws for the mass, momentum and energy of the continuous phase and on empirical correlations describing momentum, heat and mass transfer between the droplet phase and the carrier gas phase. An incompressible flow formulation is applied for direct numerical simulation of differentially heated turbulent channel flow. The two-way coupling is investigated in terms of its effects on mass and heat transfer characteristics and the resulting droplet size distribution. Compared to simulations without droplets or those with solid particles with the same size and specific heat as the water droplets, a significant increase in Nusselt number is found, arising from the additional phase changes. The Nusselt number increases with increasing ambient temperature and is almost independent of the heat flux applied to the walls of the channel. The time-averaged droplet size distribution displays a characteristic dependence on position expressing the combined effect of turbophoresis and phase changes in turbulent wall-bounded flow. In the statistically steady state that is reached after a long time, the resulting flow exhibits a mean motion of water vapour from the warm wall to the cold wall, where it condenses on average, followed by a net mean mass transfer of droplets from the cold wall to the warm wall.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-700
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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