Preferential concentration of marine particles in isotropic turbulence

Kyle D. Squires, Hidekatsu Yamazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The effect of small-scale turbulence on marine and aquatic particle transport has traditionally been to act as a means for creating homogeneous distributions. However, previous numerical simulations of heavy particle transport in turbulent flows have shown that particles are preferentially concentrated by turbulence and that effects of preferential concentration are most pronounced for particle parameters comparable to the Kolmogorov scales. Therefore, the focus of the present work is examination of the preferential concentration of marine particles. Application of Kolmogorov scaling indicates that effects of preferential concentration may be important for marine particles with diameters of order 1 mm in the upper mixed layer. Numerical simulations of unstratified isotropic turbulence are then used to support the notion that preferential concentration of particles possessing material characteristics representative of those encountered in marine environments can occur. In the simulations, particles of order 1 mm diameter are idealized as rigid spheres with a density ratio of 1.005. Simulation results demonstrate preferential concentration with peak particle number densities ranging from 10 to 60 times the global mean value. Implications of preferential concentration are also discussed, together with the limitations of the approach employed in the present study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1989-2004
Number of pages16
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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