A freely rotating sphere in a solid-body rotating flow is experimentally investigated. When the sphere is buoyant, it reaches an equilibrium position from which drag and lift coefficients are determined over a wide range of particle Reynolds numbers (2 ≤ Re ≤ 1060). The wake behind the sphere is visualized and appears to deflect strongly when the sphere is close to the cylinder axis. The spin rate of the sphere is recorded. In fluids with low viscosity, spin rates more than twice as large as the angular velocity of the cylinder can be observed. By comparing numerical results for a fixed but freely spinning sphere with a fixed non-spinning sphere for Re ≤ 200, the effect of the sphere spin on the lift coefficient is determined. The experimentally and numerically determined lift and drag coefficients and particle spin rates all show excellent agreement for Re ≤ 200. The combination of the experimental and numerical results allows for a parameterization of the lift and drag coefficients of a freely rotating sphere as function of the Reynolds number, the particle spin and the location of the particle with respect to the cylinder axis. Although the effect of the flow rotation on the particle spin is different in shear flow and solid-body rotating flow, the effect of spin on lift is found to be comparable for both types of flow.
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