Bubble-particle collisions in turbulence: Insights from point-particle simulations

Timothy T.K. Chan*, Chong Shen Ng, Dominik Krug

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Bubble-particle collisions in turbulence are central to a variety of processes such as froth flotation. Despite their importance, details of the collision process have not received much attention yet. This is compounded by the sometimes counter-intuitive behaviour of bubbles and particles in turbulence, as exemplified by the fact that they segregate in space. Although bubble-particle relative behaviour is fundamentally different from that of identical particles, the existing theoretical models are nearly all extensions of theories for particle-particle collisions in turbulence. The adequacy of these theories has yet to be assessed as appropriate data remain scarce to date. In this investigation, we study the geometric collision rate by means of direct numerical simulations of bubble-particle collisions in homogeneous isotropic turbulence using the point-particle approach over a range of the relevant parameters, including the Stokes and Reynolds numbers. We analyse the spatial distribution of bubble and particles, and quantify to what extent their segregation reduces the collision rate. This effect is countered by increased approach velocities for bubble-particle compared to monodisperse pairs, which we relate to the difference in how bubbles and particles respond to fluid accelerations. We found that in the investigated parameter range, these collision statistics are not altered significantly by the inclusion of a lift force or different drag parametrisations, or when assuming infinite particle density. Furthermore, we critically examine existing models and discuss inconsistencies therein that contribute to the discrepancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA6
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date15 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2023


  • bubble dynamics
  • particle/fluid flow
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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