On the 15th of December 2016, Sholpan Sumbekova will defend her PhD entitled "Clustering of inertial sub-Kolmogorov particles : Structure of clusters and their dynamics".

Sholpan Sumbekova was the first PhD student to be financed by Tec21 as part of our doctoral fellowship programme.

She arrived in 2014 in Grenoble to start her project under the supervision of Alain Cartellier and Mickaël Bourgoin, both researchers at the LEGI, and Alberto Aliseda from the University of Washington who received a long term visitor grant associated to this PhD to co-supervise the project.

The defense will take place in room k118 at the LEGI at 9:30 am.



This PhD thesis investigates the phenomena of preferential concentration and settling of sub-Kolmogorov inertial particles transported in a turbulent flow. To this end, experiments have been carried out in active-grid-generated turbulence in a wind-tunnel, seeded with water droplets. Preferential concentration manifests itself as the emergence of spatial segregation of the particles, which where initially homogeneously seeded in the carrier flow, leading to clusters and voids. A particular effort has been put in disentangling the roles of particles inertia, of turbulence and of collective effects on the emergence of clustering and the modification of settling velocity and in investigating the interplay between clustering and settling. Four main non-dimensional parameters have been varied to establish the role of each in the clustering process and on the settling of the particles: the Rouse number Ro, representing the ratio of the settling velocity of the particles to the fluctuating velocity of the fluid ; the Stokes number St , quantifying particle inertia as the ratio of the particle response time to the flow dissipative time scale ; the Reynolds number Relambda representing the degree of turbulence and the volume fraction phiv representing the concentration of the particles in the two-phase flow.Two experimental techniques (Lagrangian Particle Tracking and Phase Doppler Interferometry) are used to acquire data and diagnose the clustering and settling properties of the dispersed droplets.2D-Lagrangian Particle Tracking has been performed using high-speed visualization of the dispersed droplets in a laser sheet. This gives access to simultaneous statistics of particles spatial distribution and velocity. Clustering has been quantified using Voronoï tessellation and quantitative scalings on the dependency of clustering intensity and clusters dimensions on St, Relambda and phiv are found. They show a strong influence of Relambda and volume fraction phiv but a weak effect of St. This finding is consistent with a leading role of the “sweep-stick” mechanism in the clustering process, as proposed by Vassilicos. Furthermore, conditional analysis of the velocities of particles within clusters and voids has been performed showing that clusters tend to settle faster than voids, pointing to the role of collective effects in the enhancement of settling.Phase Doppler Interferometry has then been used to further analyse velocity statistics, and particle concentration field conditioned on particle diameter. Enhancement of the settling velocity for small diameters is observed, in agreement with previous studies. On the contrary, for larger particles settling velocity is found to be hindered. This indicates a subtle intrication of several possible mechanisms affecting the settling, including preferential sweeping, loitering and collective effects.


Alain Cartellier (LEGI)



Particle clustering in turbulence, inertial dynamics and resulting turbulence-induced phenomena
Tec21 PhD project

Laboratoire des Ecoulements Géophysiques et Industriels