An Eulerian-Eulerian model for gravity currents driven by inertial particles

Mariano I. Cantero, S. Balachandar, Marcelo H. García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work we introduce an Eulerian-Eulerian formulation for gravity currents driven by inertial particles. The model is based on the equilibrium Eulerian approach and on an asymptotic expansion of the two-phase flow equations. The final model consists of conservation equations for the continuum phase (carrier fluid), an algebraic equation for the disperse phase (particles) velocity that accounts for settling and inertial effects, and a transport equation for the disperse phase volume fraction. We present highly resolved two-dimensional (2D) simulations of the flow for a Reynolds number of Re = 3450 (this particular choice corresponds to a value of Grashof number of Gr = Re2 / 8 = 1.5 × 106) in order to address the effect of particle inertia on flow features. The simulations capture physical aspects of two-phase flows, such as particle preferential concentration and particle migration down turbulence gradients (turbophoresis), which modify substantially the structure and dynamics of the flow. We observe the migration of particles from the core of Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices shed from the front of the current as well as their accumulation in the current head. This redistribution of particles in the current affects the propagation speed of the front, bottom shear stress distribution, deposition rate and sedimentation. This knowledge is helpful for the interpretation of the geologic record.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-501
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Bottom shear stress
  • Density currents
  • Equilibrium Eulerian model
  • Gravity currents
  • Sediment deposits
  • Spectral methods
  • Turbidity currents
  • Two-phase flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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