Journal of Fluid Mechanics

The role of the turbulent scales in the settling velocity of heavy particles in homogeneous isotropic turbulence

C. Y. YANG a1c1 and U. LEI a1
a1 Institute of Applied Mechanics, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan, Republic of China


The average settling velocity of heavy particles under a body force field is studied numerically in stationary homogeneous isotropic turbulent flows generated by the direct numerical simulation and the large eddy simulation of the continuity and Navier–Stokes equations. The flow fields corresponding to different selected ranges of turbulent scales are obtained by filtering the results of the direct numerical simulation, and employed for calculating the particle motion. Wang & Maxey (1993) showed that as a consequence of the particle accumulation in the low vorticity region and the preferential sweeping phenomenon, the average settling rate in turbulence is greater than that in still fluid. In the present study, the phenomenon of particle accumulation in the low vorticity region is found to be controlled mainly by the small scales with wavenumber kω corresponding to the maximum of the dissipation (vorticity) spectrum. However, the increase of the average settling rate, [left angle bracket]ΔvS[right angle bracket], also depends strongly on the large energetic eddies. The small eddies with wavenumber greater than 2.5kω have essentially no effect on the particle accumulation and the average settling velocity. The large eddy simulation is thus adequate for the present study provided the smallest resolved scale is greater than 1/(2.5kω). Detailed calculations show that [left angle bracket]ΔvS[right angle bracket] is maximized and is of order u′/10 when τpk[approximate]1 and vd/u′[approximate]0.5 for Rλ=22.6–153, where τp is the particle's relaxation time, τk is the Kolmogorov timescale, vd is the settling rate in still fluid, u′ is the root mean square of the velocity fluctuation, and Rλ is the Reynolds number based on the Taylor microscale.

(Received April 18 1997)
(Revised April 21 1998)

c1 Author to whom the correspondence should be addressed.