Mechanics of Immersed Particle Collisions

[+] Author and Article Information
Roberto Zenit, Melany L. Hunt

Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA 91125

J. Fluids Eng 121(1), 179-184 (Mar 01, 1999) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2821999 History: Received January 21, 1998; Revised October 06, 1998; Online December 04, 2007


The present work investigates the mechanics of particle collisions submerged in a liquid using a simple pendulum experiment. Particle trajectories for different particles in water are measured using a high-speed digital camera and the magnitude of the collision is recorded using a high-frequency-response pressure transducer at the colliding surface. The particle deceleration occurs at distances less than half a particle diameter from the wall. The measured collision impulse increases with impact velocity and particle mass. Comparisons are drawn between the measured pressures and the predictions of basic impact mechanics assuming a perfectly elastic collision. A control-volume model is proposed that accounts for the fluid inertia and viscosity. When a particle approaches a planar surface or another particle, the fluid is squeezed prior to contact, reducing the initial kinetic energy and decelerating the particle. The pressure profile is integrated over the surface of the particle to obtain a force that is a function of the initial particle Reynolds number, Reo , and the ratio of the densities of the particle and fluid phases, ρp /ρf . The model predicts a critical Stokes number at which the particle reaches the wall with zero velocity. Comparisons between the proposed model and the experimental measurements show qualitative agreement.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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