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The dynamics of neutrally buoyant particles in isotropic turbulence : an experimental study

Elhimer, Mehdi. The dynamics of neutrally buoyant particles in isotropic turbulence : an experimental study. PhD, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2012

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Official URL: http://ethesis.inp-toulouse.fr/archive/00001921/

Abstract

In this experimental study, the focus is made on the characterization of the dynamics of solid neutrally buoyant particles embedded in a freely decaying, nearly isotropic turbulence, with a weak mean flow. The particles are spherical with diameters several times larger than the Kolmogorov scale. The study of this flow configuration is still challenging both theoretically and numerically. Due to large particle sizes, the local flow around particles can not be considered as uniform and due to fluid-particle density ratio of around unity, the history and Basset forces cannot be neglected in comparison with the viscous drag force. Particle equation of motion is then fully non-linear, in contrast to the equation for heavy particles with diameters smaller then the Kolmogorov scale, for which only the Stokes drag is considered. In several experimental and numerical studies, the effect of particle size on velocity and acceleration statistics has been investigated (Homann and Bec 2010 ; Qureshi et al. 2008 ; Ouellette et al. 2008 ; Xu and Bodenschatz 2008). In the case of isotropic turbulence, Homann and Bec (2010) show that while the PDF of the particle velocity normalized by the square root of its variance does not vary with particle size, the variance itself is size dependent. A scaling relation for particle velocity variance has been proposed by using the Faxen correction (Gatignol 1983) which takes into account the non uniformity of the fluid flow at the scale of the particle. The aim of our research is to further study the dependence of particle dynamics on particle size. To that purpose, a turbulence generator has been set-up and the resulting turbulence is characterized. Then the flow was seeded with millimeter sized, neutrally-buoyant particles and the velocity of the two phases have been measured simultaneously. Simultaneous measurements of particle and surrounding fluid velocities show that although the global velocity statistics of the two phases have comparable values, the particles may have different local velocity from the velocity of the neighboring fluid.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
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Institution: Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT
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Research Director:
Bazile, Rudy and Praud, Olivier
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