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Dynamic simulation of sphere motion in a vertical tube

  • ZHAOSHENG YU (a1), NHAN PHAN-THIEN (a2) and ROGER I. TANNER (a1)

Abstract

In this paper, the sedimentation of a sphere and its radial migration in a Poiseuille flow in a vertical tube filled with a Newtonian fluid are simulated with a finite-difference-based distributed Lagrange multiplier (DLM) method. The flow features, the settling velocities, the trajectories and the angular velocities of the spheres sedimenting in a tube at different Reynolds numbers are presented. The results show that at relatively low Reynolds numbers, the sphere approaches the tube axis monotonically, whereas in a high-Reynolds-number regime where shedding of vortices takes place, the sphere takes up a spiral trajectory that is closer to the tube wall than the tube axis. The rotation motion and the lateral motion of the sphere are highly correlated through the Magnus effect, which is verified to be an important (but not the only) driving force for the lateral migration of the sphere at relatively high Reynolds numbers. The standard vortex structures in the wake of a sphere, for Reynolds number higher than 400, are composed of a loop mainly located in a plane perpendicular to the streamwise direction and two streamwise vortex pairs. When moving downstream, the legs of the hairpin vortex retract and at the same time a streamwise vortex pair with rotation opposite to that of the legs forms between the loops. For Reynolds number around 400, the wake structures shed during the impact of the sphere on the wall typically form into streamwise vortex structures or else into hairpin vortices when the sphere spirals down. The radial, angular and axial velocities of both neutrally buoyant and non-neutrally buoyant spheres in a circular Poiseuille flow are reported. The results are in remarkably good agreement with the available experimental data. It is shown that suppresion of the sphere rotation produces significant large additional lift forces pointing towards the tube axis on the spheres in the neutrally buoyant and more-dense-downflow cases, whereas it has a negligible effect on the migration of the more dense sphere in upflow.

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Dynamic simulation of sphere motion in a vertical tube

  • ZHAOSHENG YU (a1), NHAN PHAN-THIEN (a2) and ROGER I. TANNER (a1)

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