Volume 84, Number 4, November 2008
Article Number 40005
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 04 November 2008
EPL, 84 (2008) 40005
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/40005

Sedimentation speed of inertial particles in laminar and turbulent flows

F. De Lillo1, F. Cecconi2, G. Lacorata3 and A. Vulpiani1, 4

1   Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Roma "La Sapienza" - P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy, EU
2   Center for Statistical Mechanics and Complexity (SMC) INFM-CNR and Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi (ISC-CNR) - Via dei Taurini 19 00185 Roma, Italy, EU
3   Istituto di Scienze dell'Atmosfera e del Clima, CNR - V. Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy, EU
4   INFN sezione Università di Roma "La Sapienza" - Roma, Italy, EU

received 3 April 2008; accepted in final form 9 October 2008; published November 2008
published online 4 November 2008

We consider passive inertial particles settling under the combined action of gravity and a Stokes drag in two-dimensional velocity fields with increasing complexity. The average settling speed is studied in simple steady and time-dependent cellular and in turbulent flows. Different regimes are identified in relation to the physical properties and complexity of the fields. While for steady and slowly varying weak cellular fields the settling velocity is a decreasing quadratic function of the Eulerian velocity, the same behaviour does not occur for actual turbulent fields. Large fluid velocities, on the other hand, generally speeds up the settling process. The relationships between settling times and the properties of particle trajectories in the different regimes are discussed.

05.45.-a - Nonlinear dynamics and chaos.
47.52.+j - Chaos in fluid dynamics.
47.57.ef - Sedimentation and migration.

© EPLA 2008