From nearly homogeneous to core-peaking suspensions: Insight in suspension pipe flows using MRI and DNS

Willian Hogendoorn, Wim Paul Breugem, David Frank, Martin Bruschewski, Sven Grundmann, Christian Poelma

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments have been performed in conjunction with direct numerical simulations (DNS) to study neutrally buoyant particle-laden pipe flows. The flows are characterized by the suspension liquid Reynolds number (Res), based on the bulk liquid velocity and suspension viscosity obtained from Eilers' correlation, the bulk solid volume fraction (φb), and the particle-to-pipe diameter ratio (d/D). Six different cases have been studied, each with a unique combination of Res and φ, while d/D is kept constant at 0.058. The selected cases ensure that the comparison is performed across different flow regimes, each exhibiting characteristic behavior. In general, an excellent agreement is found between experiment and simulation for the average liquid velocity and solid volume fraction profiles. Root-mean-square errors as low as 1.7% and 5.3% are found for the velocity and volume fraction profiles, respectively. This study presents accurate and quantitative velocity and volume fraction profiles of semidilute up to dense suspension flows using both experimental and numerical methods. Three different flow regimes are identified, based on the experimental and numerical solid volume fraction profiles. These profiles explain observations in the drag change. For low bulk solid volume fractions a drag increase (with respect to an equal Res single-phase case) is observed. For moderate volume fraction distributions the drag is found to decrease, due to particle accumulation at the pipe center. For high volume fractions the drag is found to decrease further. For solid volume fractions of 0.4 a drag reduction higher than 25% is found. This drag reduction is linked to the strong viscosity gradient in the radial direction, where the relatively low viscosity near the pipe wall acts as a lubrication layer between the pipe wall and the dense core.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124302
Number of pages28
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2023


We would like to thank S. van Baal (SynthosEPS) for kindly providing particles for this research. W.P.B. would like to thank SURF for using the Dutch National Supercomputer Snellius for the DNS under NWO Computing Time Grant No. 2023.009 “Numerical simulation of complex flows in complex geometries”. This work is funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant No. 725183 “OpaqueFlows.”


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