Numerical investigation of particle-laden thermally driven turbulent flows in enclosure

Nowadays, the global increase of energy demand and the necessity to satisfy high safety standards have led engineers and scientists to focus their efforts in order to understand and describe fundamental phenomena that are crucial for a correct design of the new generation nuclear power plants. In this framework, the present thesis aims at providing a first insight of the mechanisms of deposition of aerosol particles inside a closed geometry where relatively strong currents are present due to turbulent natural convective flows. Direct Numerical Simulations were conducted coupling high-order pseudo-spectral code with a Lagrangian particle tracker. Laminar flows were computed in two and three dimensions in order to benchmark the code with published reference data. A parametric study was performed for three different aerosol micro-size particle diameters and two super-critical Rayleigh numbers in a square cavity. An extended analysis of the turbulent flows is provided in terms of first and second order statistics, time-averaged momentum and energy budgets, and moreover, important terms appearing in the transport equations of turbulent kinetic energy and temperature variance are also briefly discussed. Furthermore, the evolution in time of particle concentration for the three different diameters is considered. The text provides information about the deposition velocity, the deposition patterns on the cavity surfaces, the influence of lift and thermophoretic forces and the fractal dimension. The same size dependent parametric study for the three different sets of micro-size particles was carried out in a fully three-dimensional closed cubic cavity for one super-critical Rayleigh number. A detailed investigation of the turbulence was performed by means of statistical quantities, signal processing and conditional averaging, in order to get a general view of the complexity of the flow and its characteristics. Further on, the sedimentation process is studied in the same way as for the two dimensional case. Finally a simple theoretical deposition model is provided in order to interpret the numerical results for the aerosol phase.

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