Three-dimensional lattice Boltzmann model for immiscible two-phase flow simulations

Haihu Liu, Albert J. Valocchi, Qinjun Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


We present an improved three-dimensional 19-velocity lattice Boltzmann model for immisicible binary fluids with variable viscosity and density ratios. This model uses a perturbation step to generate the interfacial tension and a recoloring step to promote phase segregation and maintain surfaces. A generalized perturbation operator is derived using the concept of a continuum surface force together with the constraints of mass and momentum conservation. A theoretical expression for the interfacial tension is determined directly without any additional analysis and assumptions. The recoloring algorithm proposed by Latva-Kokko and Rothman is applied for phase segregation, which minimizes the spurious velocities and removes lattice pinning. This model is first validated against the Laplace law for a stationary bubble. It is found that the interfacial tension is predicted well for density ratios up to 1000. The model is then used to simulate droplet deformation and breakup in simple shear flow. We compute droplet deformation at small capillary numbers in the Stokes regime and find excellent agreement with the theoretical Taylor relation for the segregation parameter β=0.7. In the limit of creeping flow, droplet breakup occurs at a critical capillary number 0.35<Cac<0.4 for the viscosity ratio of unity, consistent with previous numerical simulations and experiments. Droplet breakup can also be promoted by increasing the Reynolds number. Finally, we numerically investigate a single bubble rising under buoyancy force in viscous fluids for a wide range of Eötvös and Morton numbers. Numerical results are compared with theoretical predictions and experimental results, and satisfactory agreement is shown.
Original languageEnglish
Article number046309
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2012


  • lattice Boltzmann model
  • binary fluids
  • density ratios


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