Science Outputs

Volumetric validation of mass balance using a computational phase Doppler approach for disc core nozzles

Crop Protection, Vol. 79, 128-134

The mass balance of orchard air-blast sprayers has historically been assessed using an array of samplers to capture airborne particles. However, these methods only provide an idea of flux with no other information which is pertinent to understand the movement of droplets and their potential to drift. While droplet analysis for agricultural sprayers has always been conducted in a laboratory setting with the use of laser devices, a new phase Doppler approach is being explored to assess droplet spectra, velocity, and flux in outdoor field conditions. Therefore it is the objective of this study to develop a methodology and the potential limitations for using a phase Doppler system while in a laboratory setting. Due to the expected variability of field conditions as well as the turbulence of orchard sprayers, a computational approach was sought to assess flux from a single scan of a conical spray plume's diameter. Using a constant scanning speed of 0.0079 m/s, a disc core (D1/DC33) hollow cone nozzle was examined at 310, 410, and 520 kPa pressure at five different heights (10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 cm). Computational flux was then compared to the actual flow rate, finding a −3.3% average error with a range of −16.9% and 4.7% illustrating a small underestimation of mass with the phase Doppler which was related to distance and droplet frequency. Further, comparisons were also assessed including pattern/symmetry, droplet spectra, velocity, and the overall number of samples. The proposed methodology indicates potential for the use of phase Doppler technology for in situ measurements of spray equipment using a conical-type spray nozzle, such as that of the orchard air-blast sprayer.