A model based on geometric optics for predicting the response of interferometric (phase Doppler) instruments for size measurements of particles with radially symmetric but inhomogeneous internal refractive index profiles is developed. The model and results are important for applications in which heat or mass transfer from the particles or droplets is significant, for example, in liquid-fuel combustion. To quantify the magnitude of potential bias errors introduced by the classical assumption of uniform internal properties on phase Doppler measurements, we compute calibration curves for a sequence of times during the evaporation of a decane droplet immersed in an environment of T = 2000 K and p = 10 bars. The results reveal considerable effects on the relation between phase difference and droplet diameter caused by the refractive index gradients present. The model provides an important tool to assess sizing uncertainties that can be expected when applying conventional (based on uniform properties) phase Doppler calibration curves in spray combustion and similar processes.
© 1994 Optical Society of America
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