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The impact of inertial effects on solute dispersion in a channel with periodically varying aperture

Abstract : We investigate solute transport in channels with a periodically varying aperture, when the flow is still laminar but sufficiently fast for inertial effects to be nonnegligible. The flow field is computed for a two-dimensional setup using a finite element analysis, while transport is modeled using a random walk particle tracking method. Recirculation zones are observed when the aspect ratio of the unit cell and the relative aperture fluctuations are sufficiently large; under non-Stokes flow conditions, the flow in non-reversible, which is clearly noticeable by the horizontal asymmetry in the recirculation zones. After characterizing the size and position of the recirculation zones as a function of the geometry and Reynolds number, we investigate the corresponding behavior of the longitudinal effective diffusion coefficient. We characterize its dependence on the molecular diffusion coefficient Dm, the P'eclet number, the Reynolds number, and the geometry. The proposed relation is a generalization of the well-known Taylor-Aris relationship relating the longitudinal dispersion coefficient to Dm and the P'eclet number for a channel of constant aperture at sufficiently low Reynolds number. Inertial effects impact the exponent of the P'eclet number in this relationship; the exponent is controlled by the relative amplitude of aperture fluctuations. For the range of parameters investigated, the measured dispersion coefficient always exceeds that corresponding to the parallel plate geometry under Stokes conditions; in otherwords, boundary fluctuations always result in increased dispersion. The transient approach to the asymptotic regime is also studied and characterized quantitatively. We show that the measured characteristic time to attain asymptotic conditions is controlled by two competing effects: (i) the trapping of particles in the near-immobile zone and, (ii) the enhanced mixing in the central zone where most of the flow takes place (mainstream), due to its thinning.
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Jeremy Bouquain, Yves Méheust, Diogo Bolster, Philippe Davy. The impact of inertial effects on solute dispersion in a channel with periodically varying aperture. Physics of Fluids, American Institute of Physics, 2012, 28 (4), pp.083602. ⟨10.1063/1.4747458⟩. ⟨insu-00745643⟩

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