Statistics of rigid fibers in strongly sheared turbulence

Dennis Bakhuis, Varghese Mathai, Ruben A. Verschoof, Rodrigo Ezeta, Detlef Lohse, Sander G. Huisman, Chao Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)


Practically all flows are turbulent in nature and contain some kind of irregularly shaped particles, e.g., dirt, pollen, or life forms such as bacteria or insects. The effects of the particles on such flows and vice versa are highly nontrivial and are not completely understood, particularly when the particles are finite sized. Here, we report an experimental study of millimetric fibers in a strongly sheared turbulent flow. We find that the fibers show a preferred orientation of -0.38π±0.05π (-68±9) with respect to the mean flow direction in high-Reynolds-number Taylor-Couette turbulence, for all studied Reynolds numbers, fiber concentrations, and locations. Despite the finite size of the anisotropic particles, we can explain the preferential alignment by using Jefferey's equation, which provides evidence of the benefit of a simplified point-particle approach. Furthermore, the fiber angular velocity is strongly intermittent, again indicative of point-particle-like behavior in turbulence. Thus large anisotropic particles still can retain signatures of the local flow despite classical spatial and temporal filtering effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number072301
JournalPhysical review fluids
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019


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