Effect of fluid motions on finite spheres released in turbulent boundary layers

Yi Hui Tee, Ellen K. Longmire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper extends the work in Tee et al. (Intl J. Multiphase Flow, vol. 133, 2020, 103462) to investigate the effect of turbulent fluid motions on the translation and rotation of lifting and wall-interacting spheres in boundary layers. Each sphere was released from rest in smooth-wall boundary layers with and 1300 (and 116, respectively) and allowed to propagate with the incoming fluid. Sphere and surrounding fluid motions were tracked simultaneously via three-dimensional particle tracking velocimetry and stereoscopic particle image velocimetry in streamwise-spanwise planes. Two-point correlations of sphere and fluid streamwise velocities yielded long positive regions associated with long fast- and slow-moving zones that approach and move over the spheres. The related spanwise correlations were shorter due to the shorter coherence length of spanwise fluid structures. In general, spheres lag the surrounding fluid. The less-dense lifting sphere had smaller particle Reynolds numbers varying from near zero up to 300. Its lift-offs coincided with oncoming fast-moving zones and fluid upwash. Wall friction initially retarded the acceleration of the denser sphere. Later, fluid torque associated with approaching high-velocity regions initiated forward rotation. The rotation, which was long-lived, induced sufficient Magnus lift to initiate repeated small lift-offs, reduce wall friction, and accelerate the sphere to higher sustained velocity. Particle Reynolds numbers remained above 200, and vortex shedding was omnipresent such that the spheres clearly altered the fluid motion. Spanwise fluid shear occasionally initiated wall-normal sphere rotation and relatively long-lasting Magnus side lift. Hence the finite sphere size contributed to multiple dynamical effects not present in point-particle models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA28
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Apr 23 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press.


  • particle/fluid flow
  • turbulent boundary layers
  • vortex shedding


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