Evolution of droplet size distribution in selected nebulizers
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Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical and Process Engineering
Publication date: 2020-08-13
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Tomasz Robert Sosnowski   

Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical and Process Engineering
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2020;56(6):32-40
Nebulizers are the class of atomizing devices used to disperse liquids to fine droplets. They found their application in selected technological (typically: small-scale) processes, but their most common use is related to the generation of medicinal aerosols for inhalation. In this work we present the experimental data on the evolution of the size distributions of water droplets generated by two nebulizers (pneumatic and vibrating-mesh) as a result of aerosol mixing with the ambient air. Such a process reflects the real situation, where aerosol emitted from a nebulizer is diluted by additional air sucked by a patient during inhalation. Droplet size distribution was determined by laser diffraction, and these results were further discussed including the data of the aerosol velocity measured by the Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA). It was demonstrated – as expected - that dilution with the ambient air with moderate humidity results in the intense evaporation of the smallest droplets. However, larger droplet may be saved to a different degree depending on the velocity and geometry of the aerosol cloud emitted from the nebulizer, and on the volume of the diluting air. These parameters have an influence on the droplet coalescence which is another process shaping the droplet size distribution in the studied conditions. The results can deepen the understanding of the mist dynamics which can be applied in various fields of colloidal science and technology.
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