Effects of the fluid rheology and surface texture on the footprint of passive droplets.
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Bloodstain pattern analysis has been used in criminal investigations for more than 100 years. It provides valuable information about the events that took place prior to the formation of bloodstains at a crime scene. Forensic scientists use empirical laws to make a deduction from bloodstains, but the validity of these conclusions has been challenged in courts due to a lack of understanding of the underlying fluid mechanics. With this motivation, this thesis illustrates how mathematical modeling and numerical simulation can help gain insight into the spreading of blood droplets which eventually leads to the formation of a bloodstain.
Understanding the fluid mechanics of droplet spreading and sliding has been accomplished with the help of the lubrication approximation which simplifies the Navier-Stokes equations to a more tractable form, i.e. a coupled set of non-linear partial differential equations. The resulting highly non-linear coupled set of equations is discretized using Finite-Difference. The resulting algebraic system is solved via an efficient Multigrid algorithm. These equations are modified to understand the effects of contact angle hysteresis, fluid rheology and absorptive properties of substrates on sliding dynamics.
Variations in the inclination of the substrate cause the droplets to attain different advancing and receding contact angles as they slide down the incline under gravitational pull. This work explores a new way to introduce contact angle hysteresis in the numerical simulation to predict the different phases of a sliding droplet. Experiments of fluid droplet spreading/sliding on inclined surfaces have been performed to measure the terminal sliding velocity. A simplified hysteresis model has been proposed. This model automatically locates the section of the contact line which is advancing and the section which is receding which enables the application of the contact angles for the advancing and receding fronts and therefore takes into account contact angle hysteresis. A simplified analytical model is also suggested for droplets moving down the incline with near circular footprints. With the inclusion of the contact angle hysteresis, simulation results were brought in closer agreement with the experimental ones and the results from both were compared with the results from the analytical model.
Blood is a shear-thinning fluid. One of the main objectives of this study is to investigate numerically the effect on the spreading and/or sliding of non-Newtonian fluid droplets on surfaces. To achieve this, the effect of rheology on the leveling of thin fluid films on horizontal solid substrates is first investigated as a preliminary investigation since this problem does not involve a contact line and is therefore more tractable. A mathematical model based on the lubrication approximation which defines non-Newtonian rheology using a power-law model is presented. Results for the leveling of sinusoidal perturbations of the fluid film highlight important differences between the leveling of shear-thinning and shear-thickening fluids. Namely, the onset of leveling occurs earlier for the shear-thinning fluid than for the shear-thickening one. However, the rate of leveling is higher for the shear-thickening fluid than the shear-thinning one. An important aspect of this part of the work is the verification of the numerical implementation using the Method of Manufactured Solutions (MMS). This leveling study also highlights differences between the leveling of two-dimensional and three-dimensional perturbations.
This verified numerical formulation is then used to study the effects of rheology on the spreading/sliding of droplets. Results for the spreading of fully wetting droplets on a horizontal substrate show that, for all other quantities being equal, an increase of the flow index leads to a more rapid wetting. It also shows that, even for non-Newtonian fluids, the droplet velocity asymptotes to a constant value when sliding down an inclined substrate. This terminal velocity is strongly dependent on the rheological parameters and as it is reached, the droplets travel with a visibly constant profile. Finally, the numerical simulations revealed the formation of a tail at the rear of the droplet as it slides down the incline plane in the case of shear-thickening fluids.
Finally, a more complex dynamics of fluid being absorbed in a porous substrate as it slides/spreads is considered. A mathematical model based on the lubrication approximation which defines the absorptive property of a substrate using a Darcy’s model is presented. This numerical model is verified with the help of comparison between the analytical and numerical solutions for the absorption of thin film on horizontal porous substrates. Results show that physical properties of the substrates, i.e. permeability, porosity, capillary pressure and equilibrium contact angle affect the rate of absorption of the fluid. Adding inclination to the problem, introduces the gravitational pull in the absorption dynamics. This directly shows its effects on the footprints formed inside the porous substrates.
The following papers, based on sections of this thesis, have appeared or been accepted for publication:
- Ahmed, G., Sellier, M., Lee, Y., Jermy, M., and Taylor, M. (2013). Modeling the spreading and sliding of power-law droplets. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 432:2–7.
- Ahmed, G., Sellier, M., Lee, Y., Jermy, M., and Taylor, M. (2014). Rheological effects on the leveling dynamics of thin fluid films. Accepted for publication in the International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat and Fluid Flow.
- Ahmed, G., Sellier, M., Jermy, M., and Taylor, M. (2014). Modelling the effects of contact angle hysteresis on sliding of droplets on inclined surfaces. Submitted for peer review in The European Journal of Mechanics - B/Fluids.