Asymmetry-induced particle drift in a rotational flow


We report on an intriguing phenomenon taking place in a liquid rotating around a fixed horizontal axis. Under suitable conditions, bubbles and particles are observed to drift along the axis of rotation maintaining a constant distance from it and a constant angle of elevation above the horizontal. Absence of fore-aft symmetry of the bubble or particle shape is a prerequisite for this phenomenon. For bubbles, this requires a volume sufficiently large for surface-tension effects to be small and large deformations to be possible. Particle image velocimetry and flow visualization suggest that the wake does not play a role. The dependence on bubble radius, particle shape, liquid viscosity, and speed of rotation is investigated.

Physics of Fluids 17: 072106-1–072106-5