A spray is generally considered as a system of droplets immersed in a gaseous continuous phase. There are many occurrences of spray phenomena in power and propulsion applications, industrial applications, and nature. Sprays are produced as a result of atomization, which is defined as the disintegration of liquid into droplets. Atomization of a liquid into discrete droplets can be brought about by the use of diverse mechanism like aerodynamic, mechanical, ultrasonic, or electrostatic forces. For example, the breakup of a liquid into droplets can be achieved by the impingement with a gas in two-fluid atomization, by centrifugal forces in rotary atomization, by ultrasonic vibration utilizing a piezoelectric transducer in ultrasonic atomization, or by electrostatic/electromagnetic fields in electrostatic/electromagnetic atomization.
When a liquid is sprayed, it forms ligaments due to the interaction of the surface tension and the air resistance. The surface tension breaks the liquid jet into individual droplets that are capable of holding themselves together at their velocities. Very large droplets once formed will split further if the surrounding ambient resistance overcomes the surface tension. In the vast majority of industrial processes air assisted atomizers are used, where compressed air supplies the required energy for atomizing the liquid.
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