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Title: Effect of flexibility on the growth of concentration fluctuations in a suspension of sedimenting fibers: Particle simulations

Three-dimensional numerical simulations are performed to study the stability of a sedimenting suspension of weakly flexible fibers. It is well known that a suspension of rigid rods sedimenting under gravity at low Reynolds number is unstable to concentration fluctuations owing to hydrodynamic interactions. Flexible fibers, however, reorient while settling and even weak flexibility can alter their collective dynamics. In our recent work [Manikantan et al., “The instability of a sedimenting suspension of weakly flexible fibres,” J. Fluid Mech. 756, 935–964 (2014)], we developed a mean-field theory to predict the linear stability of such a system. Here, we verify these predictions using accurate and efficient particle simulations based on a slender-body model. We also demonstrate the mechanisms by which flexibility-induced reorientation alters suspension microstructure, and through it, its stability. Specifically, we first show that the anisotropy of the base state in the case of a suspension of flexible fibers has a destabilizing effect compared to a suspension of rigid rods. Second, a conflicting effect of flexibility is also shown to suppress particle clustering and slow down the growth of the instability. The relative magnitude of filament flexibility and rotational Brownian motion dictates which effect dominates, and our simulations qualitatively follow theoreticallymore » predicted trends. The mechanism for either effects is tied to the flexibility-induced reorientation of particles, which we illustrate using velocity and orientation statistics from our simulations. Finally, we also show that, in the case of an initially homogeneous and isotropic suspension, flexibility always acts to suppress the growth of the instability.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22482485
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Fluids (1994); Journal Volume: 28; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: (c) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; ABUNDANCE; BROWNIAN MOVEMENT; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; FIBERS; FLEXIBILITY; FLUCTUATIONS; INSTABILITY; MEAN-FIELD THEORY; STABILITY; STATISTICS; SUSPENSIONS; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS