Modeling electrospinning process and a numerical scheme using Lattice Boltzmann method to simulate viscoelastic fluid flows



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In the recent years, researchers have discovered a multitude of applications using nanofibers in fields like composites, biotechnology, environmental engineering, defense, optics and electronics. This increase in nanofiber applications needs a higher rate of nanofiber production. Electrospinning has proven to be the best nanofiber manufacturing process because of simplicity and material compatibility. Study of effects of various electrospinning parameters is important to improve the rate of nanofiber processing. In addition, several applications demand well-oriented nanofibers. Researchers have experimentally tried to control the nanofibers using secondary external electric field. In the first study, the electrospinning process is modeled and the bending instability of a viscoelastic jet is simulated. For this, the existing discrete bead model is modified and the results are compared, qualitatively, with previous works in literature. In this study, an attempt is also made to simulate the effect of secondary electric field on electrospinning process and whipping instability. It is observed that the external secondary field unwinds the jet spirals, reduces the whipping instability and increases the tension in the fiber. Lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) has gained popularity in the past decade as the method is easy implement and can also be parallelized. In the second part of this thesis, a hybrid numerical scheme which couples lattice Boltzmann method with finite difference method for a Oldroyd-B viscoelastic solution is proposed. In this scheme, the polymer viscoelastic stress tensor is included in the equilibrium distribution function and the distribution function is updated using SRT-LBE model. Then, the local velocities from the distribution function are evaluated. These local velocities are used to evaluate local velocity gradients using a central difference method in space. Next, a forward difference scheme in time is used on the Maxwell Upper Convected model and the viscoelastic stress tensor is updated. Finally, using the proposed numerical method start-up Couette flow problem for Re = 0.5 and We = 1.1, is simulated. The velocity and stress results from these simulations agree very well with the analytical solutions.