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International Journal of Multiphase Flow

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Air jets -- turbulence


Explosive volcanic eruptions create turbulent plumes of fine ash particles. When these particles collide in the presence of moisture and electrostatic fields they combine into larger aggregates, which can significantly change the atmospheric residence time of the airborne cloud. Previous studies have suggested that turbulence may lead to preferential concentration—also known as clustering—of particles within the flow, increasing the likelihood of collisions and aggregation. Few experimental studies have quantified these processes for volcanic plumes. This behavior was investigated using a particle-laden air jet. By systematically varying the exit speed and the size, density, and concentration of particles, flows were produced with Reynolds numbers of 4940 to 19300, Stokes numbers of 1.0 to 17.4 (based on the convective scale), and particle mass loadings of 0.3 to 3.9%. Specific emphasis is placed on two Stokes numbers of 1.9 and 17.4, which differ by nearly an order of magnitude. Particle image velocimetry was employed to measure the velocity distribution within a two-dimensional rectangular region along the jet centerline in each experiment. Voronoï decomposition was used to quantify the extent of preferential concentration by measuring the distribution of cell sizes around each individual particle. Results show that particles exhibit clustering behavior when Stokes numbers are close to 1. We also measured the radial distribution functions (RDFs) to quantify the likelihood of particle collisions. At low Stokes number, the RDF magnitude was significantly higher, which corresponds to increased collision frequency in the particle-laden jet. Computational analysis finds that increasing the RDF by a factor of 20 results in a doubling of peak aggregate size. These findings demonstrate that preferential concentration due to turbulent structures could have important effects on collision frequencies, ash aggregation, and electrification in volcanic plumes.


© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.



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