We present a numerical investigation of bi-disperse particle-laden gravity currents in the lock-exchange configuration. Previous results, based on numerical simulation and laboratory experiments, are used to establish comparisons. Our discussion focuses on explaining how the presence of more than one particle diameter influences the main features of the flow, such as deposit profile, the evolution of the front location and suspended mass. We develop the complete energy budget equation for bi-disperse flows. A set of two and three-dimensional direct numerical simulations (DNS), with different initial compositions of coarse and fine particles, are carried out for Reynolds number equal to 4000. Such simulations show that the energy terms are strongly affected by varying the initial particle fractions. The addition of a small amount of fine particles into a current predominantly composed of coarse particles increases its run-out distance. In particular, it is shown that higher amounts of coarse particles have a dumping effect on the current development. Comparisons show that the two-dimensional simulation does not reproduce the intense turbulence generated in 3D cases accurately, which results in a significant difference in the suspended mass, front position as well as the dissipation term due to the advective motion.
Particle-laden gravity currents
Direct numerical simulation