Effects of the finite particle size in turbulent wall-bounded flows of dense suspensions

Pedro Costa*, Francesco Picano, Luca Brandt, Wim Paul Breugem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


We use interface-resolved numerical simulations to study finite-size effects in turbulent channel flow of neutrally buoyant spheres. Two cases with particle sizes differing by a factor of two, at the same solid volume fraction of 20 % and bulk Reynolds number are considered. These are complemented with two reference single-phase flows: the unladen case, and the flow of a Newtonian fluid with the effective suspension viscosity of the same mixture in the laminar regime. As recently highlighted in Costa et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 117, 2016, 134501), a particle–wall layer is responsible for deviations of the mesoscale-averaged statistics from what is observed in the continuum limit where the suspension is modelled as a Newtonian fluid with (higher) effective viscosity. Here we investigate in detail the fluid and particle dynamics inside this layer and in the bulk. In the particle–wall layer, the near-wall inhomogeneity has an influence on the suspension microstructure over a distance proportional to the particle size. In this layer, particles have a significant (apparent) slip velocity that is reflected in the distribution of wall shear stresses. This is characterized by extreme events (both much higher and much lower than the mean). Based on these observations we provide a scaling for the particle-to-fluid apparent slip velocity as a function of the flow parameters. We also extend the scaling laws in Costa et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 117, 2016, 134501) to second-order Eulerian statistics in the homogeneous suspension region away from the wall. The results show that finite-size effects in the bulk of the channel become important for larger particles, while negligible for lower-order statistics and smaller particles. Finally, we study the particle dynamics along the wall-normal direction. Our results suggest that single-point dispersion is dominated by particle–turbulence (and not particle–particle) interactions, while differences in two-point dispersion and collisional dynamics are consistent with a picture of shear-driven interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-478
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • multiphase and particle-laden flows
  • particle/fluid flows suspensions
  • turbulent flows


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