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Visualization of the trapping of inertial particles in a laminar mixing tank

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Steven Wang



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This letter reports on new methods and results for the trajectory visualization and tracking of large inertial particles in a laminar (chaotic) mixing tank. Using specially designed light-emitting capsules, particle orbits were visualized using streak photography to reveal pathlines of capsules moving in the laminar fluid flow. In this report, we present visualization results on unexpected trapping of particles whereby finite-sized particles/capsules can spontaneously localize into the vortex tubes in the laminar stirred system. Once into tubes, large inertial particles move in helical orbits as do the passive particles. Mixing tanks have been in use over a number of centuries but this trapping phenomenon has been consistently ignored. We also measure the three-dimensional position of large inertial particles over time using an externally positioned camera and planar mirror in a calibrated set-up. As the light capsules used in this study give very high contrast even when the fluid is murky, the work provides a sound basis for further research development of measurement techniques for large (industrial) scale flows.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wang S, Stewart R, Metcalfe G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chemical Engineering Science

Year: 2016

Volume: 143

Pages: 99-104

Print publication date: 02/04/2016

Online publication date: 01/01/2016

Acceptance date: 23/12/2015

Date deposited: 08/08/2016

ISSN (print): 0009-2509

ISSN (electronic): 1873-4405

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ces.2015.12.023


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