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Department of Chemical, Metallurgical & Materials Engineering


Lesson 5
Chapter 2: Single Particles in a Fluid
Introduction
This chapter deals with the motion of single solid particles in
fluid.

Objectives of this lesson
Derivation of Stokes Law
Determination of terminal velocity in different regions of a fluid
Calculating the particle diameter, and C
D
using the particle force
balance
2.1. Motion of Solid Particles in a Fluid

The drag force resisting very slow steady relative motion
(creeping motion) between a rigid sphere of diameter x and a
fluid of infinite extent, of viscosity is composed of two
components (Stokes, 1851):

a pressure drag force,
a shear stress drag force,
Total drag force resisting motion,

where U is the relative velocity. This is called Stokes Law.
U x F
p
t =
U x F
s
t 2 =
U x F
D
t 3 =
(1)
(2)
(3)
Single particle Reynolds number is defined as:



A drag coefficient, C
D
is defined as:



where R is the force per unit projected area of the particle.

Thus for a sphere:

f
p
xU
= Re
( )
2
2
1
'
U
R
C
f
D

=
4
'
2
x
F
R
D
t
=
(4)
(5)
(6)
and Stokes law, in terms of this drag coefficient, becomes:



At higher relative velocities, the inertia of the fluid begins to
dominate (the fluid must accelerate out of the way of the
particle).
Analytical solution of the Navier-Stokes equation is not
possible under these conditions.
Experiments give the relationship between the drag coefficient
and the particle Reynolds number in the form of the so-called
standard drag curve.

p
D
C
Re
24
= (7)
From the standard drag curve four regions are identified:
Stokes law region;
Newtons law region in which drag coefficient is independent of Reynolds
number;
Intermediate region between the Stokes and Newton regions; and
Boundary layer separation region.
Several correlations have been tried/proposed for CD over the
entire range; the one presented below is that of Haider and
Levenspiel (1989), which is claimed to fit the data with a root
mean square deviation of 0.024.
(8)
2.2. Particles Falling under Gravity Through a Fluid
The relative motion under gravity of particles in a fluid is of
particular interest. In general three forces act on the particle:
Gravity
Bouyancy
Drag
Motion
Buoyancy
Drag
Gravity
A particle falling from rest in a fluid will initially experience a high
acceleration as the shear stress drag, which increases with
relative velocity, will be small.
As the particle accelerates the drag force increases, causing
acceleration to reduce.
Eventually a force balance is achieved when the acceleration is
zero and a maximum or terminal relative velocity is reached.
This phenomenon is known as the single particle terminal
velocity.

Force balance:
gravity bouyancy drag = acceleration force (9)
All forces reduce to Newton basic equation, F = ma.
Forces either cause particle motion in a fluid or resist it.
Since particles are small enough to weigh, particles diameter is
used to determine volume and mass of particles

For a spherical particle:



However, a particle will experience an upward force in accordance
with Archimedes principle,
(10)
(11)
g x
mg F
p
3
6
1
t =
=
g
x
Vg
mg F
f
f
6


3
t

=
=
=
Therefore, substituting equations (6), (10) and (11) into equation
(9):



Combining equation (12) with equation (5):




Where U
T
is the single particle terminal velocity. Equation (13)
gives the following expression for drag coefficient under terminal
velocity conditions:
(12)
(13)
0
4
'
6 6
2 3 3
=
x
R g
x
g
x
f p
t

t
( ) 0
4 2
1
6
2
2
3
=
x
U C g
x
T f D f p
t

t
( )
(
(


=
f
f p
T
D
U
gx
C


2
3
4
(14)
Thus in the Stokes law region, with , the single particle
terminal velocity is given by:




Note that in the Stokes law region the terminal velocity is
proportional to the square root of the particle diameter
p
D
C
Re
24
=
( )


18
2
g x
U
f p
T

=
(15)
2
x U
T
o
In the Newtons law region, with , the terminal velocity is
given by:




Note that in this region the terminal velocity is independent of the
fluid viscosity and proportional to the square root of the particle
diameter, that is:



In the intermediate region no explicit expression for U
T
can be
found.
44 . 0 =
D
C
(16)
( )
2
1
74 . 1
(
(


=
f
f p
T
g x
U


x U
T
o
Generally, when calculating the terminal velocity for a given
particle or the particle diameter for a given velocity, it is not
known which region of operation is relevant.
One way around this is to formulate the dimensionless groups
and :

To calculate U
T
, for a given size x. Calculate the group



which is independent of U
T

In terms of Archimedes number
For a given particle and fluid properties, is a constant and will therefore
produce a straight line of slope -2 if plotted on logarithmic coordinates (log C
D
vs
log Re
p
) of the standard drag curve.

(17)
2
Re
p D
C
p
D
C
Re
( )
2
3
2
3
4
Re

g x
C
f p f
p D

=
Ar C
p D
3
4
Re
2
=
2
Re
p D
C
The intersection of this straight line with the drag curve gives the value of Re
p
and
hence U
T
.


To calculate x, for a given U
T
. Calculate the group




which is independent of x
For a given terminal velocity, particle density and fluid properties, is a
constant and will produce a straight line of slope +1 if plotted on the logarithmic
coordinates of the standard drag curve.
The intersection of this straight line with the drag curve gives the value of Re
p
and
hence x.
(18)
( )
2 3
3
4
Re
f T
f p
p
D
U
g
C


=
p
D
C
Re
2.2. Non-spherical Particles
For non-spherical particles the particle Reynolds number is
based on the equal-volume sphere diameter, i.e. The diameter
of the sphere having the same volume as that of the particle.
Figure 2.3 above shows drag curves of particles of different
sphericities. This covers regular (sphere) and irregular particles.