A Modified TAB Model for Simulation of Atomization in Rotary Bell Spray Painting

B. Andersson, V. Golovitchev, S. Jakobsson, A. Mark, F. Edelvik, L. Davidson, J. S. Carlson. Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Automation 2013, 3(2), 54-6.


The Rotary bell spray applicator technique is commonly used in the automotive industry for paint application because of its high transfer efficiency and high-quality result. The bell spins rapidly around its axis with a tangential velocity at the edge in the order of 100 m/s. The paint falls off the edge and enters the air with a large relative velocity, driving the atomization into small droplets where the resulting size distribution depends on the process conditions. Especially the rotation speed of the bell is an important parameter governing the size distribution. The main research question in this work is to investigate if the Taylor Analogy Breakup (TAB) model can be used to predict the resulting droplet size distributions in spray painting. As the paint is a viscous fluid a modification of the TAB model taking non-linear effects of large viscosity into account is proposed. The parameters in the breakup model are tuned by optimization to match droplet size distributions obtained in CFD simulations with measured ones. Results are presented for three cases with rotation speeds from 30 to 50 thousand RPM where the full droplet size distributions are compared with measurements. Good results are obtained for all three cases where the simulated size distributions compare well to measurements over a wide range of droplet sizes. The TAB method is able to quantitatively predict the result of the breakup process and can be used in a preprocessing stage of a full spray painting simulation, thereby reducing the need for costly and cumbersome measurements.

Keywords Breakup, CFD, Multiphase Flow, Coating, Weber number, Ohnesorge Number.

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Andersson, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • V. Golovitchev, Department of Applied Mechanics, Chalmers University of Technology
  • S. Jakobsson, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • A. Mark, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • F. Edelvik, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • L. Davidson, Department of Applied Mechanics, Chalmers University of Technology
  • J. S. Carlson, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre

Photo credits: Nic McPhee