Journal of Fluid Mechanics

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The effects of hindered mobility and depletion of particles in near-wall shear flows and the implications for nanovelocimetry

PETER HUANGa1 c1, JEFFREY S. GUASTOa1 p1 and KENNETH S. BREUERa1

a1 Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02915, USA

Abstract

The behaviour of spherical Brownian particles in a near-wall shear flow is explored using Langevin simulations and experimental measurements, focusing on the effects of anisotropic hindered particle mobility and the formation of a particle depletion layer due to repulsive forces. The results are discussed in the context of particle velocity distributions obtained by near-wall image-based velocimetry. It is observed that the shear force and dispersion dominate at high Péclet number (Pe > 3), and the asymmetric shapes of particle velocity distributions are attributed to broken symmetry due to the presence of the wall. Furthermore, the excursions outside the observation depth between image acquisitions and the shear-induced slowdowns of tracer particles cause significant measurement bias for long and short inter-frame time intervals, respectively. Also impeding the measurement accuracy is the existence of a near-wall particle depletion layer that leads to an overestimation of the fluid velocity. An analytical protocol to infer the correct fluid velocity from biased measurements is presented.

(Received October 20 2008)

(Revised May 21 2009)

(Accepted May 30 2009)

(Online publication September 17 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Present address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13902, USA. Email address for correspondence: phuang@binghamton.edu

p1 Present address: Department of Physics, Haverford College, Haverford, PA 19041, USA.

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