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On fluid–particle dynamics in fully developed cluster-induced turbulence

  • Jesse Capecelatro (a1), Olivier Desjardins (a1) and Rodney O. Fox (a2) (a3)


At sufficient mass loading and in the presence of a mean body force (e.g. gravity), an initially random distribution of particles may organize into dense clusters as a result of momentum coupling with the carrier phase. In statistically stationary flows, fluctuations in particle concentration can generate and sustain fluid-phase turbulence, which we refer to as cluster-induced turbulence (CIT). This work aims to explore such flows in order to better understand the fundamental modelling aspects related to multiphase turbulence, including the mechanisms responsible for generating volume-fraction fluctuations, how energy is transferred between the phases, and how the cluster size distribution scales with various flow parameters. To this end, a complete description of the two-phase flow is presented in terms of the exact Reynolds-average (RA) equations, and the relevant unclosed terms that are retained in the context of homogeneous gravity-driven flows are investigated numerically. An Eulerian–Lagrangian computational strategy is used to simulate fully developed CIT for a range of Reynolds numbers, where the production of fluid-phase kinetic energy results entirely from momentum coupling with finite-size inertial particles. The adaptive filtering technique recently introduced in our previous work (Capecelatro et al., J. Fluid Mech., vol. 747, 2014, R2) is used to evaluate the Lagrangian data as Eulerian fields that are consistent with the terms appearing in the RA equations. Results from gravity-driven CIT show that momentum coupling between the two phases leads to significant differences from the behaviour observed in very dilute systems with one-way coupling. In particular, entrainment of the fluid phase by clusters results in an increased mean particle velocity that generates a drag production term for fluid-phase turbulent kinetic energy that is highly anisotropic. Moreover, owing to the compressibility of the particle phase, the uncorrelated components of the particle-phase velocity statistics are highly non-Gaussian, as opposed to systems with one-way coupling, where, in the homogeneous limit, all of the velocity statistics are nearly Gaussian. We also observe that the particle pressure tensor is highly anisotropic, and thus additional transport equations for the separate contributions to the pressure tensor (as opposed to a single transport equation for the granular temperature) are necessary in formulating a predictive multiphase turbulence model.


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