Aggregation and disaggregation processes in clusters of particles under flow: Simple numerical and theoretical insights

LV Bouthier and R Castellani and S Manneville and A Poulesquen and R Valette and E Hachem, PHYSICAL REVIEW FLUIDS, 8, 023304 (2023).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevFluids.8.023304

Aggregation and disaggregation of clusters of attractive particles under flow are studied from numerical and theoretical points of view. Two- dimensional molecular dynamics simulations of both Couette and Poiseuille flows highlight the growth of the average steady-state cluster size as a power law of the adhesion number, a dimensionless number that quantifies the ratio of attractive forces to shear stress. Such a power-law scaling results from the competition between aggregation and disaggregation processes, as already reported in the literature. Here we rationalize this behavior through a model based on an energy function, which minimization yields the power-law exponent in terms of the cluster fractal dimension, in good agreement with the present simulations and with previous works.

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