Journal of Fluid Mechanics

On the stability of laminar flow of a dusty gas

P. G.  Saffman a1
a1 Department of Mathematics, King's College, London

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The equations describing the motion of a gas carrying small dust particles are given and the equations satisfied by small disturbances of a steady laminar flow are derived. The effect of the dust is described by two parameters; the concentration of dust and a relaxation time τ which measures the rate at which the velocity of a dust particle adjusts to changes in the gas velocity and depends upon the size of the individual particles. It is shown that if the dust is fine enough for τ to be small compared with a characteristic time scale associated with the flow, then the addition of dust destabilizes a gas flow; whereas if the dust is coarse so that τ is relatively large, then the dust has a stabilizing action.

For plane parallel flow, it is shown that the stability characteristics for a dusty gas are still determined by solutions of the Orr-Sommerfeld equation, but with the basic velocity profile replaced by a modified profile which is in general complex. A simple, although unrealistic, example is used to illustrate some features of the action of dust. It is intended to describe the solution of the modified Orr-Sommerfeld equation for plane Poiseuille flow in a later paper.

(Published Online March 28 2006)
(Received December 19 1961)