Certain experiments in quasi-isobaric supercritical injection remain unexplained by the current state of theory: Without developing a constant value potential core as expected from the mechanical view of break-up, density is observed to drop immediately upon entering the chamber. Furthermore, this phenomenon has never been captured in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) despite having become a de facto standard case for real fluid CFD validation. In this paper, we present strong evidence for a thermal jet disintegration mechanism (in addition to classical mechanical break-up) which resolves both the theoretical and the computational discrepancies. A new interpretation of supercritical jet disintegration is introduced, based on pseudo-boiling, a nonlinear supercritical transition from gas-like to liquid-like states. We show that thermal disintegration may dominate classical mechanical break-up when heat transfer takes place in the injector and when the fluid state is sufficiently close to the pseudo-boiling point. A procedure which allows to capture subsided cores with standard CFD is provided and demonstrated.

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