Optimizing Atomization Simulation in Jet Engines through Coupled CFD Methods: An Investigation with atomizationFoam


The numerical investigation of liquid atomization poses a significant challenge due to the complexity of the involved physical processes and the wide range of relevant time and length scales. Typically, the spray process is divided into primary and secondary atomization regions, which are studied separately.

For primary atomization, CFD methods such as Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) or Volume of Fluid (VoF) are employed, while in the secondary atomization region, the spray is tracked using the considerably more cost-effective Lagrangian Particle Tracking (LPT). However, due to this separation, a detailed representation of the interactions between the subprocesses is not possible.

A promising approach to overcome this limitation is the use of atomizationFoam [1], an extension of the open-source CFD code OpenFOAM, where VoF and LPT are coupled in a single simulation.

The objective of the master's thesis is to apply atomizationFoam to the air-blast atomization process in jet engines and compare it with the conventional decoupled approach. The emphasis is on evaluating the potential for future spray simulations.

This thesis offers the student the opportunity to actively contribute to the development of CFD methods and gain experience in the field of numerical fluid mechanics, particularly with OpenFOAM, one of the most widely used CFD codes in both research and industry.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of numerical fluid mechanics, preferably with some experience in OpenFOAM
  • Proficiency in Linux, C++, and/or Python is advantageous


Image reference & [1]: Heinrich, Martin, and Rüdiger Schwarze. "3D-coupling of Volume-of-Fluid and Lagrangian particle tracking for spray atomization simulation in OpenFOAM." SoftwareX 11 (2020): 100483. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.softx.2020.100483.