Citation
Higuera Antón, Francisco
(2010).
Numerical computation of the domain of operation of an electrospray of a very viscous liquid.
"Journal of Fluid Mechanics", v. 648
;
pp. 35-52.
ISSN 0022-1120.
Abstract
A numerical study is carried out of the injection of a very viscous liquid of small electrical conductivity at a constant flow rate through an orifice in a metallic plate under the action of an electric field. The conditions under which the injected liquid can form an elongated meniscus with a thin jet emanating from its tip are investigated by computing the flow, the electric field and the transport of electric charge in the meniscus and a leading region of the jet. A stationary solution is found only for values of the flow rate above a certain minimum. At moderate values of the applied field, this minimum flow rate decreases when the applied field or the conductivity of the liquid increase. The electric shear stress acting on the surface of the liquid is not able to drive the liquid into the jet at flow rates smaller than the minimum while, for any flow rate higher than the minimum, the transfer of electric current to the surface may occur in a slender region of the jet where charge relaxation effects are small and the field induced by the electric charge of the jet is important. At high values of the applied field, the flow rate must be higher than another minimum, which increases with the applied field, in order for the viscous stress to balance the strong electric stress acting on the meniscus. The two conditions taken together determine lower and upper bounds for the applied field at a given flow rate, but the value of the applied field at which a stationary jet is first established when this parameter is gradually increased is higher than the lower bound, leading to hysteresis. When the liquid is electrosprayed in a surrounding dielectric fluid, the viscous shear stress that this fluid exerts on the surface of the jet eventually balances the electric shear stress and stops the continuous stretching of the jet. A fraction of the conduction current is left in the jet when the effect of the outer liquid comes into play in the region where this current is transferred to the surface, and no stationary solution is found above a maximum flow rate that decreases when the viscosity of the outer liquid increases or the applied field decreases. Order of magnitude estimates of the electric current and the conditions in the current transfer region are worked out.