Flowfield characteristics of an aerodynamic acoustic levitator

A. L. Yarin, G. Brenn, J. Keller, M. Pfaffenlehner, E. Ryssel, C. Tropea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


A droplet held in a single-axis ultrasonic levitator will principally sustain a certain external blowing along the levitation axis, which introduces the possibility of investigating heat and/or mass transfer from the droplet under conditions which are not too remote from those in spray systems. The focus of the present work is on the influence of the acoustic field on the external flow. More specifically, an axisymmetric submerged gas jet in an axial standing acoustic wave is examined, both in the absence and presence of a liquid droplet. Flow visualization is first presented to illustrate the global flow effects and the operating windows of jet velocities and acoustic powers which are suitable for further study. An analytic and numeric solution, based on the parabolic boundary layer equations are then given for the case of no levitated droplet, providing quantitative estimates of the acoustic field/flow interaction. Detailed velocity measurements using a laser Doppler anemometer verify the analytic results and extend these to the case of a levitated droplet. Some unresolved discrepancy remains in predicting the maximum velocity attainable before the droplet is blown out of the levitator. Two methods are developed to estimate the sound pressure level in the levitator by comparing flowfield patterns with analytic results. These results and observations are used to estimate to what extent acoustic aerodynamic levitators can be used in the future for investigating transport properties of individual droplets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3300-3314
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Nov

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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