Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

March 2006


Copyright Cambridge University Press. Reprinted from Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 551, March 2006, pages 357-385.


The motion of a heavy rigid ellipsoidal particle settling in an infinitely long circular tube filled with an incompressible Newtonian fluid has been studied numerically for three categories of problems, namely, when both fluid and particle inertia are negligible, when fluid inertia is negligible but particle inertia is present, and when both fluid and particle inertia are present. The governing equations for both the fluid and the solid particle have been solved using an arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian based finite-element method. Under Stokes flow conditions, an ellipsoid without inertia is observed to follow a perfectly periodic orbit in which the particle rotates and moves from side to side in the tube as it settles. The amplitude and the period of this oscillatory motion depend on the initial orientation and the aspect ratio of the ellipsoid. An ellipsoid with inertia is found to follow initially a similar oscillatory motion with increasing amplitude. Its orientation tends towards a flatter configuration, and the rate of change of its orientation is found to be a function of the particle Stokes number which characterizes the particle inertia. The ellipsoid eventually collides with the tube wall, and settles into a different periodic orbit. For cases with non-zero Reynolds numbers, an ellipsoid is seen to attain a steady-state configuration wherein it falls vertically. The location and configuration of this steady equilibrium varies with the Reynolds number.



Date Posted: 29 June 2006

This document has been peer reviewed.