We report a detailed experimental characterization of the process of homogeneous condensation in supersonic expanding flow. In our experiments, the supersaturated mixture expands in a Laval nozzle, where, depending on the initial conditions, a steady or periodically oscillating flow may evolve due to the non-linear interaction of nucleation and droplet growth rate with the flow field. Two experimental techniques are utilized: holographic interferometry for the determination of the density field and a time-resolved white-light extinction method. The latter is employed to derive the evolution in time of the droplet cloud (i.e., modal radius, number density, and relative width) and to measure the frequency of oscillations. In combination with the wide-field density data, droplet size measurements provide additional physical insights in the mechanism of interaction in condensing flows and serve as an excellent test case for the critical assessment of nucleation and droplet growth theories. To this purpose, the accuracy of the measurements is carefully reviewed due to the difficulties of characterizing dense sub-micron droplet clouds by means of light-scattering techniques. An important byproduct of this analysis is an evaluation of the applicability of single-scattering approximations, i.e., Lambert-Beer law, for a variety of experimental configurations.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2002
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