Surrogate immiscible liquid pairs with refractive indexes matchable over a wide range of density and viscosity ratios

Rajat Saksena, Kenneth T. Christensen, Arne J. Pearlstein

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In liquid-liquid flows, use of optical diagnostics is limited by interphase refractive index mismatch, which leads to optical distortion and complicates data interpretation, and sometimes also by opacity. Both problems can be eliminated using a surrogate pair of immiscible index-matched transparent liquids, whose density and viscosity ratios match corresponding ratios for the original liquid pair. We show that a wide range of density and viscosity ratios is accessible using aqueous solutions of 1,2- propanediol and CsBr (for which index, density, and viscosity are available), and solutions of light and heavy silicone oils and 1-bromooctane (for which we measured the same properties at 119 compositions). For each liquid phase, polynomials in the composition variables, least-squares fitted to index and density and to the logarithm of kinematic viscosity, were used to determine accessible density and viscosity ratios for each matchable index. Index-matched solution pairs can be prepared with density and viscosity ratios equal to those for water-liquid CO2 at 0 °C over a range of pressure (allowing water-liquid CO2 behavior at inconveniently high pressure to be simulated by 1-bar experiments), and for water-crude oil and water-trichloroethylene (avoiding opacity and toxicity problems, respectively), each over a range of temperature. For representative index-matched solutions, equilibration changes index, density, and viscosity only slightly, and mass spectrometry and elemental analysis show that no component of either phase has significant interphase solubility. Finally, procedures are described for iteratively reducing the residual index mismatch in surrogate solution pairs prepared on the basis of approximate polynomial fits to experimental data, and for systematically dealing with nonzero interphase solubility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number087103
JournalPhysics of fluids
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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