Atomization of liquid media is a key aim in various technological disciplines, and solutions that improve spray performance, while decreasing energy consumption, are in great demand. That concept is very important in the development of liquid fuel spray atomizers in high-efficiency microturbines and other generator systems with low inlet pressure and a wide range of power supply. Here we present a study of the liquid atomization characteristics for a new mechanical atomizer that has optimal geometric parameters and a preliminary swirl stage. In our air-assisted atomizer, air is introduced through a swirl chamber positioned at the exit of the mechanical atomizer. The optimized mechanical atomizer alone can achieve D32
drop diameters in the range of 80 to 40 µm at water supply pressures of 2 to 5 bar, respectively. The addition of an air swirl chamber substantially decreases drop sizes. At an air–liquid ratio (ALR) equal to 1, water pressures of 2.5 to 3 bar and air supply pressures 0.35 to 1 bar, D32
drops with diameters of 20–30 µm were obtained. In an air-assisted atomizer the parameters of the mechanical atomizer have a much stronger influence on drop diameters than do characteristics of the air-swirl chamber. Using a mechanical atomizer with optimal geometrical dimensions allows limiting the liquid supply pressure to 5 bar; but when an air-assisted component is introduced we can recommend an ALR ≈ 1 and an air supply pressure of up to 1 bar.
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