Origin of non-Gaussian velocity distributions in steady-state sedimentationE. Kuusela1, J. M. Lahtinen1 and T. Ala-Nissila1, 2
1 Laboratory of Physics, Helsinki University of Technology P.O. Box 1100, FIN-02015 HUT, Espoo, Finland
2 Department of Physics, Brown University - Providence, RI 02912-1843, USA
(Received 17 July 2003; accepted in final form 15 October 2003)
We study the settling dynamics of non-Brownian particles during steady-state sedimentation under realistic conditions by computer simulations. We show that the velocity fluctuations parallel to gravity change systematically with the particle volume fraction . For dilute systems, their distribution function has a non-Gaussian form, with an extended tail in the direction of the downward velocity, while for dense systems the situation is the opposite. In the intermediate regime at the fluctuations are Gaussian. We show that these distributions can be understood from the dependence of the settling velocity and its fluctuations on the local density around each particle.
05.40.-a - Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion.
47.55.Kf - Multiphase and particle-laden flows.
83.85.Pt - Computational fluid dynamics.
© EDP Sciences 2004