On the collision rate of small particles in isotropic turbulence. I. Zero-inertia case

Lian Ping Wang, Anthony S. Wexler, Yong Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Numerical experiments have been performed to study the geometric collision rate of finite-size particles with zero inertia (i.e., fluid elements) in isotropic turbulence. The turbulent flow was generated by the pseudospectral method. We argue thai the formulation of Saffman and Turner [J. Fluid Mech. 1, 16 (1956)] for the average collision kernel is correct only under the assumptions that the particles are kept in the system after collision and allowed to overlap in space. This was confirmed, for the first time, by numerical experiments to within a numerical uncertainty as small as 1%. Finite corrections to the Saffman and Turner result must be made if one applies the theory to actual coagulation process where particles are not allowed to overlap before collision and particles are removed from a given size group after collision. This is due to the fact that Saffman and Turner assumed a uniform, time-independent concentration field in their formulation of the average collision kernel, while in the actual modeling of population evolution the particle number concentration changes in time and may be locally nonuniform as a result of a biased removal process due to spatially nonuniform coagulation rates. However, the quantitative level of the deviations from the Saffman and Turner result remain to be explained. Numerical experiments in simple shear flow were also conducted to elaborate our findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-276
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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