Journal of Fluid Mechanics

The lift on a small sphere in a slow shear flow

P. G.  Saffman a1
a1 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California

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It is shown that a sphere moving through a very viscous liquid with velocity V relative to a uniform simple shear, the translation velocity being parallel to the streamlines and measured relative to the streamline through the centre, experiences a lift force 81·2μVa2k½/v½ + smaller terms perpendicular to the flow direction, which acts to deflect the particle towards the streamlines moving in the direction opposite to V. Here, a denotes the radius of the sphere, κ the magnitude of the velocity gradient, and μ and v the viscosity and kinematic viscosity, respectively. The relevance of the result to the observations by Segrée & Silberberg (1962) of small spheres in Poiseuille flow is discussed briefly. Comments are also made about the problem of a sphere in a parabolic velocity profile and the functional dependence of the lift upon the parameters is obtained.

(Published Online March 28 2006)
(Received October 29 1964)