Velocity and spatial distribution of inertial particles in a turbulent channel flow

Kee Onn Fong, Omid Amili, Filippo Coletti

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We present experimental observations of the velocity and spatial distribution of inertial particles dispersed in turbulent downward flow through a vertical channel at friction Reynolds numbers Reτ = 235 and 335. The working fluid is air laden with size-selected glass microspheres, having Stokes numbers St=O(10) and O(100) when based on the Kolmogorov and viscous time scales, respectively. Cases at solid volume fractions φν = 3 × 10-6 and 5 × 10-5 are considered. In the more dilute regime, the particle concentration profile shows near-wall and centreline maxima compatible with a turbophoretic drift down the gradient of turbulence intensity; the particles travel at speed similar to that of the unladen flow except in the near-wall region; and their velocity fluctuations generally follow the unladen flow level over the channel core, exceeding it in the near-wall region. The denser regime presents substantial differences in all measured statistics: The near-wall concentration peak is much more pronounced, while the centreline maximum is absent; the mean particle velocity decreases over the logarithmic and buffer layers; and particle velocity fluctuations and deposition velocities are enhanced. An analysis of the spatial distributions of particle positions and velocities reveals different behaviours in the core and near-wall regions. In the channel core, dense clusters form which are somewhat elongated, tend to be preferentially aligned with the vertical/streamwise direction and travel faster than the less concentrated particles. In the near-wall region, the particles arrange in highly elongated streaks associated with negative streamwise velocity fluctuations, several channel heights in length and spaced by O(100) wall units, supporting the view that these are coupled to fluid low-speed streaks typical of wall turbulence. The particle velocity fields contain a significant component of random uncorrelated motion, more prominent for higher St and in the near-wall region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-406
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Aug 10 2019


  • particle/fluid flows


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