Turbulent pair dispersion in the presence of gravity

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© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. Turbulent pair dispersion of heavy particles is strongly altered when particles of two different Stokes numbers (bidisperse) are considered, and this is further compounded when a uniform gravitational acceleration is present. Lagrangian trajectories of fluid tracers, and bidisperse heavy particles with and without gravity were calculated from a direct numerical simulation of homogeneous, isotropic turbulence. Particle pair dispersion shows a short-time, ballistic (Batchelor) regime and a transition to super-ballistic dispersion that is suggestive of the emergence of Richardson scaling. Asimple equation of motion for inertial, sedimenting particles captures the essential features of the pair dispersion at very short time and length scales. Kolmogorov scaling arguments are able to qualitatively describe the competition between gravity-induced and fluid-induced relative motion in modifying the amount of time the heavy particles spend in the ballistic regime. The transition from ballistic to super-ballistic dispersion for fluid tracers and monodisperse inertial particles exhibits a pronounced sub-ballistic behavior that can be attributed to the mixed velocity-acceleration structure function. The sub-ballistic behavior is strongly suppressed for bidisperse particles, both in the presence or absence of gravity, primarily because of a reduction in the correlation between velocity and acceleration increments.

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New Journal of Physics