Journal of Fluid Mechanics

The creeping motion of immiscible drops through a converging/diverging tube

W. L.  Olbricht a1p1 and L. G.  Leal a1
a1 Department of Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125

Article author query
olbricht wl   [Google Scholar] 
leal lg   [Google Scholar] 


Results of experiments on the low-Reynolds-number flow of liquid drops through a horizontal circular tube with a diameter that varies sinusoidally with axial position are reported. Measurements of the contribution of the drop to the local pressure gradient and the relative velocity of the drop are correlated with the time-dependent drop shape. Both Newtonian and viscoelastic suspending fluids are considered. The viscosity ratio, volumetric flow rate and drop size are varied in the experiment, and both neutrally buoyant and non-neutrally buoyant drops are studied. Comparison with previous results for a straight-wall tube shows that the influence of the tube boundary geometry on the drop shape is substantial, but the qualitative effect of the tube shape depends strongly on the relative importance of viscous forces compared to interfacial tension for the particular experiment. For Newtonian fluids, two modes of drop breakup, which are distinguished by the magnitude of the viscosity ratio, are observed. When the suspending fluid is viscoelastic, both shear-thinning and time-dependent rheological effects are present.

(Published Online April 20 2006)
(Received August 11 1980)
(Revised May 10 1983)

p1 Present address: School of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.