Journal of Fluid Mechanics


On the relevance of the lift force in bubbly turbulence

a1 Department of Applied Physics and J. M. Burgers Centre for Fluid Dynamics, University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
a2 Istituto per le Applicazioni del Calcolo, CNR, Viale del Policlinico 137, 00161, Roma, Italy
a3 INFM, Unità di Tor Vergata, Via della Ricerca Scientifica 1, 00133, Roma, Italy


Microbubble-laden homogeneous and isotropic turbulent flow is investigated by using direct numerical simulation of the three-dimensional Navier–Stokes equations and computing the bubble trajectories with Lagrangian tracking. The bubble motion is calculated by taking into account the effect of fluid acceleration plus added mass, drag, gravity, and in particular the lift force, which had been neglected in many previous simulations. By comparing the results from simulations with and without lift, we find the effect of the lift force to be crucial: for passive bubbles, i.e. bubbles without backreaction on the flow (one-way coupling), the lift enhances the accumulation of bubbles on the downward flow side of vortices, resulting in a considerably reduced rise velocity of bubbles in turbulent flow, compared to still water. This also has consequences for the active bubble case, i.e. for bubbles with backreaction on the flow (two-way coupling): the energy spectrum of the turbulence is modified {non-uniformly}. Because of the combined effect of preferential bubble clustering in downflow zones and the local buoyant transfer, which reduces the vertical fluid velocity fluctuations, large-scale motions (small wavenumbers $k$) are suppressed. In contrast, small-scale motions (large wavenumbers $k$) are enhanced due to the local bubble forcing. The net effect turns out to be a reduction of the energy dissipation rate.

(Received October 8 2002)
(Revised February 6 2003)