Suspension dynamics in transitional pipe flow

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Particle-laden pipe flows exhibit a gradual laminar-turbulent transition, beyond a critical volume fraction (φ). While classical transition behavior is characterized by the presence of turbulent puffs, this intermittent nature is absent for particle-induced transition. For small pipe-to-particle diameter ratios (D/d) even dilute systems exhibit this particle-induced transition behavior. In this study we use neutrally buoyant particles with a D/d of 5.7, which represents a "sweet spot,"allowing the use of particle image velocimetry to study this particular phenomenon. The average velocity profile gradually changes from a parabola (laminar flow) to a blunted velocity profile for increasing Reynolds number. The instantaneous velocity profiles fluctuate around this profile. These velocity fluctuations, described by ux-rms and ur-rms, gradually increase for increasing Reynolds number, as do the Reynolds stresses. For low Res, the velocity fluctuations increase proportional to the bulk velocity, which can be explained by a simple model based on the finite size of the particles. The velocity fields show the presence of elongated streamwise structures. The largest length scales are found in the transition region, where average integral length scales up to 5D are found. The structures decrease in length when the flow has fully transitioned to a turbulent state.

Original languageEnglish
Article number064301
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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