We have developed a numerical scheme to simulate the motion of dielectric particles in uniform and nonuniform electric fields. The particles are moved using a direct simulation scheme in which the fundamental equations of motion of fluid and solid particles are solved without the use of models. The motion of particles is tracked using a distributed Lagrange multiplier method (DLM) and the electric force acting on the particles is calculated by integrating the Maxwell stress tensor (MST) over the particle surfaces. One of the key features of the DLM method is that the fluid-particle system is treated implicitly by using a combined weak formulation where the forces and moments between the particles and fluid cancel, as they are internal to the combined system. The flow inside the particles is forced to be a rigid-body motion using the distributed Lagrange multiplier method. The MST is obtained from the electric potential, which, in turn, is obtained by solving the electrostatic problem. In our numerical scheme the Marchuk-Yanenko operator-splitting technique is used to decouple the difficulties associated with the incompressibility constraint, the nonlinear convection term, and the rigid-body motion constraint. A comparison of the DNS results with those from the point-dipole approximation shows that the accuracy of the latter diminishes when the distance between the particles becomes comparable to the particle diameter, the domain size is comparable to the diameter, and also when the dielectric mismatch between the fluid and particles is relatively large.

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