On the transport, segregation and dispersion of heavy and light particles interacting with rising thermal plumes

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A systematic numerical analysis is carried out on the multiplicity of patterns produced by inertial particles dispersed in a fluid and localized gravitational convection developing in the form of a rising thermal plume. In particular, specific numerical examples are presented to provide inputs for an increased understanding of the underlying flow-particle interaction mechanisms and cause-and-effect relationships. A rich spectrum of convective dynamics is obtained at the relatively high value of the considered Rayleigh number (Ra=108), which naturally allows the investigation of several intriguing effects (including, but not limited to, particle interaction with plume jet, associated vortices, shear instabilities and symmetry breaking phenomena). An important degree of freedom is introduced in the problem by changing the particle viscous drag through proper tuning of the related Stokes number (St). Similarly, inertia and weight of solid matter are varied parametrically by performing numerical simulations for both light and heavy particles at different values of the Froude number. This framework lets us identify the average behaviour of particles by revealing the mean evolution. We connect such statistics to the behaviour of the temporally evolving thermal plume, giving deeper insights into the particle transport mechanisms and associated dissipative dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number033302
Number of pages23
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2018


  • buoyancy convection
  • thermal plumes
  • inertial particles
  • settling
  • segregation
  • accumulation
  • clustering
  • trapping
  • pattern formation

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