Can preferential concentration of finite-size particles in plane Couette turbulence be reproduced with the aid of equilibrium solutions?

Tiago Pestana, Markus Uhlmann, Genta Kawahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This work employs invariant solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations to study the interaction between finite-size particles and near-wall coherent structures. We consider horizontal plane Couette flow and focus on Nagata's upper-branch equilibrium solution at low Reynolds numbers where this solution is linearly stable. When adding a single heavy particle with a diameter equivalent to 2.5 wall units (112 of the gap width), we observe that the solution remains stable and is essentially unchanged away from the particle. This result demonstrates that it is technically feasible to utilize exact coherent structures in conjunction with particle-resolved direct numerical simulation. While translating in the streamwise direction, the particle migrates laterally under the action of the quasistreamwise vortices until it reaches the region occupied by the low-speed streak, where it attains a periodic state of motion, independent of its initial position. As a result of the ensuing preferential particle location, the time-average streamwise particle velocity differs from the plane-average fluid-phase velocity at the same wall distance as the particle center, as previously observed in experiments and in numerical data for fully turbulent wall-bounded flows. Additional constrained simulations where the particle is maintained at a fixed spanwise position while freely translating in the other two directions reveal the existence of two equilibria located in the low-speed and the high-speed streak, respectively, the former being an unstable point. A parametric study with different particle to fluid density ratios is conducted which shows how inertia affects the spanwise fluctuations of the periodic particle motion. Finally, we discuss a number of potential future investigations of solid particle dynamics which can be conducted with the aid of invariant solutions (exact coherent structures) of the Navier-Stokes equations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034305
Number of pages23
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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