Abstract

Turbulent particle-laden flows are of high interest due to their presence in many industrial applications. High Reynolds number flows containing solid particles, create complex flows and erosive environments. The effect that the particles have on the turbulence of the surrounding fluid is referred to in the literature as turbulence modulation. This is an area of research in which there is still much to learn to enable a deeper understanding of the physics behind these complex flows. Data that would be of particular usefulness are at higher Reynolds numbers (Re ≥ 100,000), and dense loadings (ΦV ≥ 1%). In this work, turbulent particle-laden flow through a simplified industrial geometry was studied at an upper Reynolds number of 115,000 and particle loadings up to 5% by weight/volume (specific gravity = 1) to address these needs. The flow within a tee junction with the 90-degree branch closed-off downstream was studied. This is analogous to a duct flow but with an exposed region of fluid at the location of the closed-off branch. Super absorbent particles were used as the solid phase, which became index-matched and neutrally buoyant upon saturation with water. Data were acquired using 2-D planar particle image velocimetry (PIV) along the center span of the tunnel. Mean and root-mean-square (rms) velocities were calculated for the fluid phase. Particle loadings studied were 0%, 1%, 3%, and 5 at flow Reynolds numbers of 11,500 and 115,000. Velocity contour plots are presented to provide a macro description of the flow. Three horizontal positions within the shear layer region were selected for profile comparison (x* = −0.45, 0, 0.45). Prior literature suggested that the particles would attenuate the turbulence, however, the result showed no single trend in the current data. The mean velocities were nominally unaffected by loading for a respective Reynolds number case. Turbulence modulation of the flow was found to be sensitive to the Reynolds number, as at x* = −0.45 weakening of the rms was observed in the low Reynolds number case and strengthening in the high Reynolds number case for the same particle loading in the same region of the geometry.

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