Authors: Hakan Başağaoğlu, Sauro Succi, Danielle Wyrick, Justin Blount

Journal: Scientific reports, 2018, 8.1: 1-11.

Abstract: We present a new numerical model to simulate settling trajectories of discretized individual or a mixture of particles of different geometrical shapes in a quiescent fluid and their flow trajectories in a flowing fluid. Simulations unveiled diverse particle settling trajectories as a function of their geometrical shape and density. The effects of the surface concavity of a boomerang particle and aspect ratio of a rectangular particle on the periodicity and amplitude of oscillations in their settling trajectories were numerically captured. Use of surrogate circular particles for settling or flowing of a mixture of non-circular particles were shown to miscalculate particle velocities by a factor of 0.9–2.2 and inaccurately determine the particles’ trajectories. In a microfluidic chamber with particles of different shapes and sizes, simulations showed that steady vortices do not necessarily always control particle entrapments, nor do larger particles get selectively and consistently entrapped in steady vortices. Strikingly, a change in the shape of large particles from circular to elliptical resulted in stronger entrapments of smaller circular particles, but enhanced outflows of larger particles, which could be an alternative microfluidics-based method for sorting and separation of particles of different sizes and shapes.

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