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Mechanisms for particle transfer and segregation in a turbulent boundary layer



Particle transfer in the wall region of turbulent boundary layers is dominated by the coherent structures which control the turbulence regeneration cycle. Coherent structures bring particles toward and away from the wall and favour particle segregation in the viscous region, giving rise to non-uniform particle distribution profiles which peak close to the wall. The object of this work is to understand the reasons for higher particle concentration in the wall region by examining turbulent transfer of heavy particles to and away from the wall in connection with the coherent structures of the boundary layer. We will examine the behaviour of a dilute dispersion of heavy particles – flyashes in air – in a vertical channel flow, using pseudo-spectral direct numerical simulation to calculate the turbulent flow field at a shear Reynolds number Reτ = 150, and Lagrangian tracking to describe the dynamics of particles. Drag force, gravity and Saffman lift are used in the equation of motion for the particles, which are assumed to have no influence on the flow field. Particle interaction with the wall is fully elastic. As reported in several previous investigations, we found that particles are transferred by sweeps – Q2 type events – in the wall region, where they preferentially accumulate in the low-speed streak environments, whereas ejections – Q4 type events – transfer particles from the wall region to the outer flow. We quantify the efficiency of the instantaneous realizations of the Reynolds stresses events in transferring different size particles to the wall and away from the wall, respectively. Our findings confirm that sweeps and ejections are efficient transfer mechanisms for particles. In particular, we find that only those sweep and ejection events with substantial spatial coherence are effective in transferring particles. However, the efficiency of the transfer mechanisms is conditioned by the presence of particles to be transferred. In the case of ejections, particles are more rarely available since, when in the viscous wall layer, they are concentrated under the low-speed streaks. Even though the low-speed streaks are ejection-like environments, particles remain trapped for a long time. This phenomenon, which causes accumulation of particles in the near-wall region, can be interpreted in terms of overall fluxes toward and away from the wall by the theory of turbophoresis. This theory, proposed initially by Caporaloni et al. (1975) and re-examined later by Reeks (1983), can help to explain the existence of net particle fluxes toward the wall as a manifestation of the skewness in the velocity distribution of the particles (Reeks 1983). To understand the local and instantaneous mechanisms which give rise to the phenomenon of turbophoresis, we focus on the near-wall region of the turbulent boundary layer. We examine the role of the rear-end of a quasistreamwise vortex very near to the wall in preventing particles in the proximity of the wall from being re-entrained by the pumping action of the large, farther from the wall, forward-end of a following quasi-streamwise vortex. We examine several mechanisms for turbulence structures near the wall and we find that the mechanism based on the archetypal quasi-streamwise structures identified by Schoppa & Hussain (1997), the parent–offspring regeneration cycle for near-wall quasi-streamwise vortices discussed by Brooke & Hanratty (1993), and the mechanism based on coherent packets of hairpin vortices, the fundamental super-structure characterized by Adrian, Meinhart & Tomkins (2000), all depict the same characteristic pattern which is responsible for particle trapping very near to the wall.


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Mechanisms for particle transfer and segregation in a turbulent boundary layer



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