Experimental study of negatively buoyant finite-size particles in a turbulent boundary layer up to dense regimes

Lucia J. Baker, Filippo Coletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We experimentally investigate the two-phase interplay in an open-channel turbulent boundary layer laden with finite-size particles at global volume fractions between 4 and 25 %. The working fluid (water) and the dispersed phase (hydrogel spheres) have closely matched refractive indices, allowing us to measure the properties of both phases using particle image velocimetry and particle tracking velocimetry, respectively. The particles have a diameter of approximately 9 % of the channel depth and are slightly denser than the fluid. The negative buoyancy causes a strong vertical concentration gradient, characterized by discrete and closely spaced particle layers parallel to the wall. Even at the lowest considered volume fractions, the near-wall fluid velocity and velocity gradients are strongly reduced, with large mean shear throughout most of the channel height. This indicates that the local effective viscosity of the suspension is greatly increased due to the friction between particle layers sliding over one another. The particles consistently lag the fluid and leave their footprint on its mean and fluctuating velocity profiles. The turbulent activity is damped near the wall, where the nearly packed particles disrupt and suppress large-scale turbulent fluctuations and redistribute some of the kinetic energy to smaller scales. On the other hand, in the outer region of the flow where the local particle concentration is low, the mean shear produces strong Reynolds stresses, with enhanced sweeps and ejections and frequent swirling events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-629
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - May 10 2019


  • particle/fluid flow
  • smultiphase flow
  • turbulent boundary layers

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental study of negatively buoyant finite-size particles in a turbulent boundary layer up to dense regimes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this