Noncoalescence in the oblique collision of fluid jets

Wadhwa N, Vlachos P, Jung S, Phys Rev Lett 110 (12) :124502 (2013).


When two jets of fluid collide, they can “bounce” off each other, due to a thin film of air which keeps them separated. We describe the phenomenon of stable noncoalescence between two jets of the same fluid, colliding obliquely with each other. Using a simple experimental setup, we carry out a parametric study of the bouncing jets by varying the jet diameter, velocity, angle of inclination, and fluid viscosity, which suggests that the contact time of bouncing jets scales as the square root of the normal Weber number We. A dimensionless parameter \(K = (We \sqrt{Re}/sin \alpha)^{1/2}\), where Re is the normal Reynolds number and \(\alpha\) the angle of inclination of the jets, quantitatively captures the transition of colliding jets from bouncing to coalescence. This parameter draws parallels between jet coalescence and droplet splashing and indicates that the transition is governed by a surface instability. Stable and continuous noncoalescence between fluid jets makes it a good platform for experimental studies of the interaction between fluid interfaces and the properties of the interfacial air films.