Abstract The paper presents results from a numerical investigation of the non-central binary collision of two equal size droplets in a gaseous phase. The flow field is two phase and three dimensional; the investigation is based on the finite volume numerical solution of the Navier–Stokes equations, coupled with the Volume of Fluid Method (VOF), expressing the unified flow field of the two phases, liquid and gas. A recently developed adaptive local grid refinement technique is used, in order to increase the accuracy of the solution particularly in the region of the liquid–gas interface. The reliability of the solution procedure is tested by comparing predictions with available experimental data. The numerical results predict the collision process of the two colliding droplets (permanent coalescence or separation) and in the case of separation the formation and the size of the satellite droplets. The time evolution of the geometrical characteristics of the ligament, for various Weber numbers and impact parameters, is calculated and details are shown of the velocity and pressure fields particularly at the ligament pinch off location not hitherto available. Gas bubbles due to collision are trapped within the liquid phase as it has also been observed in experiments and their volume is calculated.

Keywords: Binary collision, Ligament, Satellite droplet formation, Volume of Fluid Method