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Kinetic-theory predictions of clustering instabilities in granular flows: beyond the small-Knudsen-number regime

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 December 2013

Peter P. Mitrano
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
John R. Zenk
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Sofiane Benyahia
Affiliation:
National Energy Technology Laboratory, Morgantown, WV 26507, USA
Janine E. Galvin
Affiliation:
National Energy Technology Laboratory, Morgantown, WV 26507, USA
Steven R. Dahl
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Christine M. Hrenya
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

In this work we quantitatively assess, via instabilities, a Navier–Stokes-order (small-Knudsen-number) continuum model based on the kinetic theory analogy and applied to inelastic spheres in a homogeneous cooling system. Dissipative collisions are known to give rise to instabilities, namely velocity vortices and particle clusters, for sufficiently large domains. We compare predictions for the critical length scales required for particle clustering obtained from transient simulations using the continuum model with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The agreement between continuum simulations and MD simulations is excellent, particularly given the presence of well-developed velocity vortices at the onset of clustering. More specifically, spatial mapping of the local velocity-field Knudsen numbers ( $K{n}_{u} $ ) at the time of cluster detection reveals $K{n}_{u} \gg 1$ due to the presence of large velocity gradients associated with vortices. Although kinetic-theory-based continuum models are based on a small- $Kn$ (i.e. small-gradient) assumption, our findings suggest that, similar to molecular gases, Navier–Stokes-order (small- $Kn$ ) theories are surprisingly accurate outside their expected range of validity.

Type
Rapids
Copyright
©2013 Cambridge University Press 

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