Shape-dependence of particle rotation in isotropic turbulence

M. Byron, J. Einarsson, K. Gustavsson, G. Voth, B. Mehlig, E. Variano

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86 Scopus citations


We consider the rotation of neutrally buoyant axisymmetric particles suspended in isotropic turbulence. Using laboratory experiments as well as numerical and analytical calculations, we explore how particle rotation depends upon particle shape. We find that shape strongly affects orientational trajectories, but that it has negligible effect on the variance of the particle angular velocity. Previous work has shown that shape significantly affects the variance of the tumbling rate of axisymmetric particles. It follows that shape affects the spinning rate in a way that is, on average, complementary to the shape-dependence of the tumbling rate. We confirm this relationship using direct numerical simulations, showing how tumbling rate and spinning rate variances show complementary trends for rod-shaped and disk-shaped particles. We also consider a random but non-turbulent flow. This allows us to explore which of the features observed for rotation in turbulent flow are due to the effects of particle alignment in vortex tubes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035101
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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