Surface and subsurface contributions to the build-up of forces on bed particles

Alessandro Leonardi* (Corresponding Author), D Pokrajac, F Roman, F Zanello, V Armenio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


In nature and in many industrial applications, the boundary of a channel flow is made of solid particles which form a porous wall, so that there is a mutual influence between the free flow and the subsurface flow developing inside the pores. While the influence of the porous wall on the free flow has been well studied, less well characterized is the subsurface flow, due to the practical difficulties in gathering information in the small spaces given by the pores. It is also not clear whether the subsurface flow can host turbulent events able to contribute significantly to the build-up of forces on the particles, potentially leading to their dislodgement. Through large eddy simulations, we investigate the interface between a free flow and a bed composed of spherical particles in a cubic arrangement. The communication between surface and subsurface flow is in this case enhanced, with relatively strong turbulent events happening also inside the pores. After comparing the simulation results with a previous experimental work from a similar setting, the forces experienced by the boundary particles are analysed. While it remains true that the lift forces are largely dependent on the structure of the free flow, turbulence inside the pores can also give a significant contribution. Pressure inside the pores is weakly correlated to the pressure in the free flow, and strong peaks above and below a particle can happen independently. Ignoring the porous layer below the particle from the computations leads then in this case to an underestimation of the lift forces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-572
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date26 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

The research leading to these results received funding from the People Programme
(Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme
FP7/2007-2013/ under REA grant agreement no 607394-SEDITRANS. This paper
reflects only the authors view and the Commission and REA are not responsible for
any use that may be made of the information it contains. The authors are grateful to F. Kyrousi for useful suggestions, and to the group of H. Herrmann at ETH Zurich for providing some of the resources used for the computations.


  • fluidized beds
  • porous media
  • sediment transport


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