IIT Kanpur Study Offers Insights Into Binary Fluid Dynamics For Possible Industrial Applications

Research findings hold potential for applications in industries such as food processing, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Source: Louis Reed/Unsplash)</p></div>
(Source: Louis Reed/Unsplash)

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, have offered new insights into the process of relaxation of turbulent binary fluids in a study published in the journal Communications Physics. The research on binary fluids, referring to a mixture such as oil and water, challenges existing theories of turbulent relaxation and offers possibilities in the application of binary fluid dynamics in science, engineering and various industries.

Upon vigorous stirring, a binary fluid becomes turbulent and forms an intermediate phase with cell-like structures. The study, led by Prof. Supratik Banerjee, along with research scholars from the Department of Physics, explores the detailed process of how such a binary fluid relaxes when the stirring is withdrawn. The study findings have implications for understanding and manipulating the properties of such fluids in industrial applications.

The research offers a quantitative analysis of how the bulk of each component fluid and their interface in a binary mixture relax back to a phase-separated state once the turbulence ceases. The relaxed state of the bulk turns up to be categorically different than that of the interface region, the study found. However, both relax through a universal pathway—the principle of vanishing nonlinear transfers—proposed by the same researchers in a recent study.

As per the findings, the relaxation process in binary fluids significantly differs from that in single-fluid systems. This distinction can be attributed to the conservation of an additional quantity called scalar energy, which is pivotal in understanding this relaxation process.

“The findings of our research hold immense potential for applications in industries such as food processing, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, where binary emulsions like mayonnaise, antacid emulsions, shampoos and body creams are manufactured. By understanding the unique relaxation properties of binary fluids, companies can optimise the stability and consistency of their products, ensuring longer shelf life and improved quality,” said Banerjee.

“In pharmaceuticals, where the stability of emulsions is crucial for the efficacy of certain medications, this research can lead to enhanced drug formulations, ultimately improving patient outcomes,” Banerjee added.

The research also challenges the principle of selective decay, a theory that has dominated understandings of turbulent relaxation but fails to account for finite pressure gradients in the relaxed state of binary fluids.

The application of these findings in industrial settings will not only enhance product quality and sustainability but also drive innovation in formulation and processing techniques, potentially leading to the development of new products and applications, the research suggested.