Simultaneous measurement of monocomponent droplet temperature/refractive index, size and evaporation rate with phase rainbow refractometry

Yingchun Wu, Cyril Crua, Haipeng Li, Sawitree Saengkaew, Lutz Mädler, Xuecheng Wu, Gérard Gréhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The accurate measurements of droplet temperature, size and evaporation rate are of great importance to characterize the heat and mass tranfer during evaporation/condensation processes. The nanoscale size change of a micron-sized droplet exactly describes its transient mass transfer, but is difficult to measure because it is smaller than the resolutions of current size measurement techniques. The Phase Rainbow Refractometry (PRR) technique is developed and applied to measure droplet temperature, size and transient size changes and thereafter evaporation rate simultaneously. The measurement principle of PRR is theoretically derived, and it reveals that the phase shift of the time-resolved ripple structures linearly depends on, and can directly yield, nano-scale size changes of droplets. The PRR technique is first verified through the simulation of rainbows of droplets with changing size, and results show that PRR can precisely measure droplet refractive index, absolute size, as well as size change with absolute and relative errors within several nanometers and 0.6%, respectively, and thus PRR permits accurate measurements of transient droplet evaporation rates. The evaporation of flowing single n-nonane droplet and mono-dispersed n-heptane droplet stream are investigated by two PRR systems with a high speed linear CCD and a low speed array CCD, respectively. Their transient evaporation rates are experimentally determined and quantitatively agree well with the theoretical values predicted by classical Maxwell and Stefan-Fuchs models. With the demonstration of evaporation rate measurement of monocomponent droplet in this work, PRR is an ideal tool for measurements of transient droplet evaporation/condensation processes, and can be extended to multicomponent droplets in a wide range of industrially-relevant applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-157
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


  • Phase rainbow refractometry
  • Droplet evaporation rate
  • Temperature
  • Size change
  • Refractive index


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