On particle separation from turbulent particle plumes in a cross-flow

Cara B.G. James, Nicola Mingotti, Andrew W. Woods
2021 Journal of Fluid Mechanics  
We present new experiments of particle-driven turbulent plumes issuing from a constant source of dense particle-laden fluid, with buoyancy flux, $B$ , in a uniform horizontal current, $u$ . Experiments show that a turbulent, well-mixed plume develops, in which the downward vertical speed $w$ decreases with depth $z$ according to $w = 0.76 (B/uz)^{1/2}$ while the horizontal speed rapidly asymptotes to the current speed $u$ , provided that the Stokes settling speed of the particles $v<0.92 w$ .
more » ... r $v > 0.92 w$ , the particles separate from the plume fluid, and their depth $z$ increases according to the simple sedimentation trajectory $\textrm {d}z/{\textrm {d}\kern0.7pt x} = v/u$ . As the particles sediment, they form clusters of particles, which lead to fluctuations in the particle load with position, but do not appear to change the time-average sedimentation speed. We explore the impact of these results for deep-sea mining, in which the fate of the plume water as well as the particles is key for assessing potential environmental impacts.
doi:10.1017/jfm.2021.1065 fatcat:6segwf2xyrfshpnej4t2lrhtuu