Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Deterministic and stochastic behaviour of non-Brownian spheres in sheared suspensions

a1 The Levich Institute, T-1M, The City College of the City University of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
a2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, NJ 07102, USA


The dynamics of macroscopically homogeneous sheared suspensions of neutrally buoyant, non-Brownian spheres is investigated in the limit of vanishingly small Reynolds numbers using Stokesian dynamics. We show that the complex dynamics of sheared suspensions can be characterized as a chaotic motion in phase space and determine the dependence of the largest Lyapunov exponent on the volume fraction φ. We also offer evidence that the chaotic motion is responsible for the loss of memory in the evolution of the system and demonstrate this loss of correlation in phase space. The loss of memory at the microscopic level of individual particles is also shown in terms of the autocorrelation functions for the two transverse velocity components. Moreover, a negative correlation in the transverse particle velocities is seen to exist at the lower concentrations, an effect which we explain on the basis of the dynamics of two isolated spheres undergoing simple shear. In addition, we calculate the probability distribution function of the transverse velocity fluctuations and observe, with increasing φ, a transition from exponential to Gaussian distributions.

The simulations include a non-hydrodynamic repulsive interaction between the spheres which qualitatively models the effects of surface roughness and other irreversible effects, such as residual Brownian displacements, that become particularly important whenever pairs of spheres are nearly touching. We investigate, for very dilute suspensions, the effects of such a non-hydrodynamic interparticle force on the scaling of the particle tracer diffusion coefficients Dy and Dz, respectively, along and normal to the plane of shear, and show that, when this force is very short-ranged, both are proportional to φ2 as φ [rightward arrow] 0. In contrast, when the range of the non-hydrodynamic interaction is increased, we observe a crossover in the dependence of Dy on φ, from φ2 to φ as φ [rightward arrow] 0. We also estimate that a similar crossover exists for Dz but at a value of φ one order of magnitude lower than that which we were able to reach in our simulations.

(Received May 24 2001)
(Revised December 3 2001)