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Madhusuden Agrawal*, Ansys Inc., Houston, TX 77084, USA
Shinichi Ookawara, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan
Kohei Ogawa, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan

Particulate flows in which particle size is comparable to channel dimensions have gained
considerable importance with growing interest in biomedical and micro-chemical technologies
(Hessel et al., 2005). In most particles tracking methods implemented in commercial CFD codes,
particle drag and lift forces are evaluated through specified models based on the particle and
flow properties at the point. Most of these models for drag and lift forces are usually derived
with the assumption that a single particle moves in infinitely quiescent media or infinitely
homogeneous sheared flow. When the particle size is comparable to a channel or particle exists
near wall region in a device, the accuracy of these models cannot be assured since these
assumptions are not valid, viz., the particle volume cannot be treated as a point compared with
the scale of velocity profile. For these scenarios, it is necessary to take into account particle
physical volume to model for both hydrodynamic and wall effects in such narrow spaces.
Although direct numerical simulation associated with dynamic meshing around a moving
particle is expected to be the most accurate method for this purpose, the computing cost is not
practical. In our previous study (Ookawara et al., 2005), a novel approach Macro Particle Model
(MPM) proposed by Agrawal et al. (2004) was validated in terms of a falling velocity of sphere
in a quiescent Newtonian liquid in a cylindrical pipe. This model was subsequently applied to
simulate particle behavior in microseparator/classifier developed by Ookawara et al. (2004), in
which wall effects on particle drag and lift would be important factors (Ookawara et al., 2007).
The model prediction was found to well correspond to the experimental visualization (Oozeki et
al., 2008).
Although there are many different, corrected or extended models for particle drag and lift
which take into account the length from wall, shear rate range, particle Reynolds number,
volume fraction etc, it is impossible to find a CFD code which is equipped with all models ever
proposed. In the absence of any unified model valid for all the conditions and regions, the direct
numerical simulation of coupled fluid and particle motion is a potential option to resolve the
situation. But unfortunately, these direct numerical simulations can be very computationally
intensive, which are impractical to use in most real applications. It is highly expected that the
MPM will be a useful tool instead of real direct numerical simulation in situations where
validated models for drag and lift do not exist or suitable models cannot be determined.
It is well established that the terminal velocity of a sphere, falling in a quiescent
Newtonian liquid in a cylindrical tube, is considerably reduced by the presence of a nearby wall
compared with that of a sphere falling in infinite media and that the particle velocity profile
depends only on the diameter ratio of sphere to tube in the viscous regime. Therefore, this
problem is selected for a quantitative validation of the MPM in this study. In MPM, solid body
velocity, which describes the particle motion, is fixed in computational cells that are contained
*Corresponding Author:
within particle’s physical volume which effectively transfer momentum from particle to fluid
cells. On the other hand, drag and lift forces as well as torques acting on the particle are
evaluated based on local pressure field, flow pattern and shear stress distribution. Since the MPM
is capable of predicting the interacting particle motion and fluid flow around it, it can be
regarded an approximated or quasi- direct numerical simulation. The falling velocity predicted
by the previous MPM was larger compared with the correlation because the drag force in the
previous formulation largely corresponded to virtual mass force that was required to accelerate
fluid surrounding the particle. In the present study, the pressure and viscous components of drag
forces are additionally incorporated into the drag formulation in MPM based on pressure and
shear stress distributions around the particle. In this paper, the falling velocity predicted by the
improved MPM is compared with the previous predictions as well as with the correlation. In the
MPM approach, the mesh density, especially number of fluid cells in the diameter of particle, is
an important variable for the accuracy of the drag prediction. A mesh sensitivity analysis has also
been performed in this study.

Theoretical Background
In Stokes regime, a terminal velocity, V∞, and relaxation time, ∞, of spherical particle
(whose density and diameter are p and d respectively) falling in an infinite Newtonian fluid
(whose density and viscosity are f and ) is described as:
V 

gd 2  p   f  and  
p  f 2d 2 … (1)
18 18
The terminal velocity (V) of a sphere falling in a quiescent Newtonian liquid is
considerably reduced by a wall effect compared with in infinite media which is expressed by a
wall factor (f) as: f  … (2)
Generally this wall factor (f) is a function of a particle Reynolds number and the sphere to
tube diameter ratio ( = d / D). However for very low (as well as for very high) Reynolds
number flows, the wall factor is independent of Reynolds number and only a function of sphere
to tube diameter ratio ().
The following theoretical equation by Haberman and Sayre (1958) is widely accepted to
express the wall effect in the viscous regime:
1  2.105  2.08653  1.70685  0.726036
f  … (3)
1  0.75857 5
The upper limit of viscous regime is dependent on  as listed in Table 1 (Chhabra et al.,

Numerical Methods
In the MPM approach, particle is treated in a Lagrangian frame of reference. The particle
is assumed to span several computational cells. Cells that contain at least one node within the
region occupied by the particle are considered as being “touched” by the particle. At every time
step, a solid body velocity that describes the particle motion is fixed in these cells as shown in
Figure 1. The particles have six degrees of freedom so both translational and rotational velocity
components of particle motion are taken into account, while fixing the velocities in fluid cells.
For a touched fluid cell at time t, the fixing of particle velocity is performed as:
Vf, after fixing t    p t Vp t   1   p t Vf, before fixing t  …(4)
where p(t) is particle volume fraction in the cell at time, t. By fixing the rigid body
motion of the particle to fluid cells, momentum is effectively transferred from the particle to

Fluid Velocity
Touched Cells Fluid Cells

Particle Velocity

Particle velocity fixed on touched cells
Figure 1. Fluid cells touched by particle and fixing of particle velocity in touched cells.

Drag and lift forces as well as torques on the particle are explicitly calculated based on velocity,
pressure and shear stress distribution in fluid cells in and around the particle. Pressure, viscous as
well as virtual mass components of drag forces are included in particle forces/torque calculations.
New velocities (linear as well angular) and positions of the particles are obtained at each time
step based on these forces and torques.
The integral of the momentum change, linear as well as angular, gives the viscous mass
component of drag force and torque experienced by each particle, which is expressed as follows
(in the i direction):
 

 cells cells

Rm, i   mf Vf, i  mf Vp,i  1 t 


where mf, Vf,i,, Vp,i and t are fluid mass in a cell, velocity of fluid and particle in i
direction and time step, respectively. Integration in the above equation is performed on all cells
touched by particle volume.
Similarly, the i component (in Cartesian coordinates) of pressure (Rp,i) and viscous (Rv,i)
forces acting on particle surface is formulated as:
Rp,i   Pd 2 r  x i r  , Rv , i   τ ji d 2  r  x j r  x j …(6)   
cells cells j

In the left equation, P and d2 is pressure and approximated area of particle surface in a
fluid cell that is partially occupied by the particle. The vectors of r and xi are a radius vector
from the fluid cell center to particle center and a unit vector for Cartesian coordinates. In the
right equation, ji =  (∂ui/∂xj) xi is shear stress in the positive i direction on a plane
perpendicular to j direction and this is the force exerted by the fluid in the region of greater j
coordinates on the fluid of lesser j coordinates. Integration, for pressure and viscous forces, is
performed for all cells partially touched by particle volume, which could be good approximation
to represent fluid cells close to particle surface.
In addition to correct drag/torque calculations and momentum transfer, MPM is a general
purpose module to model for particulate flows in ANSYS/FLUENT. It has built-in algorithm to
handle particle-particle and particle-wall collisions including friction dynamics. Table-4
summarizes some of these main features of MPM module. This study involves a single particle
motion only so collision and other physics are not included in these MPM simulations.

Problem Setup
The properties of liquid and solid are determined in order to simulate a falling particle in
an aqueous solution. The densities of resin sphere p and liquid f are kept constant as 1,695
kg/m3 and 1,020 kg/m3, respectively. Liquid viscosity is specified in such a way that terminal
velocity, V∞, and relaxation time, ∞, are constant regardless of particle diameter, d. This
viscosity changes are done as follows:
     10 2    0.1 … (7)
This viscosity definition will lead to:    1 10 3 s and V  3 10 3 m/s …(8)
Diameter D and height H of a tube are set to 0.02 m and 0.06 m, respectively. The given
ratio of height to diameter, 3, is regarded as sufficient to achieve the insensitivity of results to the
tube height (Higdon and Muldowney, 1995). The particle diameter is varied from 0.002 m to
0.018 m as given in Table 2.
Different mesh density was used to perform mesh sensitivity study. Number of fluid cells
in the particle diameter was varied for a fixed tube to sphere diameter ratio () for the mesh
sensitivity study. Figure 2 shows perspective views of the tube geometries with the three mesh
densities examined. Figure 3 shows the geometry of the tube and the particle in the middle of the

(a) Coarse (b) Medium (c) Fine

Figure 3. Geometry of the tube
Figure 2. Tube geometry with examined mesh densities and initial particle location

For the mesh size sensitivity study, the number of cells in the particle diameter, total
number of cells generated in the tube, and number of cells in the particle volume are shown in
Table 3.
The commercial CFD code ANSYS/FLUENT 6.3 which is based on finite volume
method, is employed for these simulations. The governing equations are conservation of mass
and momentum. Higher order descretization schemes for the pressure and convection terms were
used in this study for better accuracy. At time zero, the particle with velocity of zero is released
exactly from the tube center, viz., the particle center is located on the tube axis and the distances
from the particle center to both top and bottom walls are same initially. The gravity is specified
as 9.8 m/s2 along the tube axis. The no-slip condition is specified at all physical boundaries. The
time step size is selected as to be two hundredth of the relaxation time in infinite medium given
by Eq. (1). Computational requirements for these simulations are relatively inexpensive; CPU
time varies from few minutes to few hours depending on total mesh count.

Results and Discussions

Figure – 4. Comparison of terminal velocity predicted by present and previous MPM with the
Haberman and Sayre correlation

Figure – 5. Mesh size sensitivity study for terminal velocity for =0.5
As seen in Figure 4, the present MPM can predict the terminal velocity in the tube that is
in better agreement with the correlation compared to the previous MPM for the entire range of
particle diameter to tube diameter (λ). With the new drag formulation in MPM, the prediction of
terminal velocity for entire range of λ agrees very well with the published correlation of
Haberman and Sayre. The comparison suggests that the drag expressed by Eq. (5) largely
corresponds to the virtual mass force and hence the drag magnitude is not sufficient especially in
the small λ range leading to the larger terminal velocity by the previous MPM drag formulation.
By adding the pressure and viscous components of the drag force as expressed by Eq. (6), the
total drag magnitude becomes appropriate and hence the terminal velocity is properly predicted
in the whole λ range by the present MPM. In this study, the mesh size is adjusted in such a way
that there are always 5 cells in particle diameter for all λ values.
It should be noted that in the MPM formulation, the velocity reduced due to wall effects
can be predicted without any model or correction in drag evaluation. The particle existence and
motion causes the flow field around the particle while the particle motion is determined by the
fluid forces caused by the flow field. The fully coupled particle-fluid simulation can be realized
with a sufficient accuracy over rather coarse mesh compared to particle size. As seen in Figure 5,
terminal velocity prediction is fairly independent of mesh resolution once we have mesh size
which has about 4-5 cells in the diameter of the particle.

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f)

Figure – 6. Simulation results at for  = 0.5 with 10 cells per diameter mesh. (a) Particle volume
fraction in range 0 – 1 (b) Velocity magnitude in range 0 – 5.4 e-4 m/s (c) Static Pressure in
range -25 – 65 Pa (d) Strain Rate in range 0 – 0.4 /s (e) Velocity vectors in range 0 – 5.4 e-4 m/s
(f) color map – increasing in value from blue to red

Figure 6 shows various colored plots of CFD results for λ =0.5 case. The range of each
contour map is indicated in the figure caption and it is divided into 20 sub ranges (which
increases linearly from blue to red color) whose common color map is shown in figure 6f.
Contours of particle volume fraction are shown in figure 6a; region of red indicates instantaneous
particle location (or particle volume). Pressure contours plot in figure 6c shows high and low
pressure zones are formed adjacent to the lower and upper parts of the particle, respectively. It
can be seen in figure 6b that flow field is induced around the particle and the magnitude decays
rapidly in the axis direction. Strain rate contours in figure 6d, indicates high shear in partially
occupied cells around particle volume, which could be regarded as a good representation of
particle surface in MPM. Figure 6e shows the velocity vectors in the vicinity of particle region.
This velocity vectors plot clearly shows a region where fluid velocity vectors have the same
magnitude and direction as the rigid body motion of the particle. Upward flow seen at both sides
of the particle generates circulating flow field around the particle associated with downward flow
below and beyond the particle. It can be said that the MPM reasonably predicts flow around the
particle induced by the particle motion itself.

It is pointed out that particulate flow in microdevice for particle separation/classification
can be characterized by a steep shear rate in the liquid phase when the particle size is comparable
to that of the device. The infinite homogeneity around particle in the liquid phase and the
moderate flow conditions, which is commonly assumed for derivation of drag and lifts force
models, is no longer valid in such microdevices. Since the present study on a falling ball in a
tube shows that the MPM is capable of predicting the interacting particle motion and fluid flow
around it over a relatively coarse mesh, the MPM can be regarded as implementing a quasi-direct
numerical simulation of particulate flow with a reasonable computational cost. Therefore, it is
highly expected the MPM will be a useful tool instead of real direct numerical simulation in the
situations where validated models for drag and lift do not exist or suitable models cannot be
determined. This new MPM model incorporates explicit formulation of viscous and pressure
drag components. Validation of this new MPM with an established problem, viz., reduced
terminal velocity of a sphere in a cylindrical tube in viscous regime, suggests that it can
accurately predict the falling velocity decreasing with the diameter ratio of particle to tube. The
results of mesh sensitivity study demonstrate that MPM approach can predict good results in
relatively coarse meshes. The macroscopic particle model (MPM) is an innovative approach to
model big spherical particles for situations where traditional discrete phase models are not
applicable. MPM model is relatively inexpensive computationally compared to direct numerical
Although this model is implemented in ANSYS/FLUENT 6.3 using user-defined
functions and a customized graphical user interface, the approach itself is not limited to
FLUENT and is usable in other CFD software also. It will be a further study to examine the
model applicability to various situations, to which the ordinary particle tracking method cannot
be suited. The particle motion in non-Newtonian fluids, in which the apparent viscosity is much
dependent on shear rate and hence it could vary even over the particle surface, is a practical and
interesting application.

1. Agrawal M., Bakker A., Prinkey M.T., “Tracking Big Particles”, Fluent Newsletter, Fall
2003, page 11.
2. Agrawal, M., A. Bakker and M.T. Prinkey (2004). “Macroscopic particle model - Tracking
big particle in CFD”. The Proceeding of AIChE 2004 Annual Meeting, Austin, USA. 268b.
3. Chhabra, R. P., S. Agarwal and K. Chaudhary (2003). “A note on wall effect on the terminal
falling velocity of a sphere in quiescent Newtonian media in cylindrical tubes”. Powder
Tech., 129, 53-58.
4. Haberman, W. L., R.M. Sayre (1958). “David Taylor Model Basin Report No. 1143”. Dept.
of Navy, Washington, DC.
5. Hessel V., H. Löwe, A. Müller and G. Kolb (2005). “Chemical Micro Process Engineering-
Processing and Plants”. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim.
6. Ookawara, S., R. Higashi, K. Ogawa and D. Street (2004). “Feasibility study on
concentration of slurry and classification of contained particles by microchannel”. Chem.
Eng. J., 101, 171-178.
7. Ookawara, S., M. Agrawal, D. Street and K. Ogawa (2005). “Modeling the motion of a
sphere falling in a quiescent Newtonian liquid in a cylindrical tube by using the macroscopic
particle model”. 7th World Congress of Chemical Engineering. Glasgow, Scotland. C39-004.
8. Ookawara S., M. Agrawal, D. Street and K. Ogawa (2007). “Quasi-direct numerical
simulation of lift force-induced particle separation in a curved microchannel by use of a
macroscopic particle model”. Chem. Eng. Sci., 62, 2454-2465.
9. Oozeki, N., S. Ookawara, K. Ogawa, P. Löb and V. Hessel (2008). “Characterization of
microseparator/classifier with a simple arc microchannel”. AIChE J., published online: DOI:
10. Madhusuden Agrawal and Liz Marshall, 2006. “Using a Macroscopic Particle Model for
Dilute Solids Suspensions”. AIChE 2006 annual meeting.
11. Saffman, P. G., 1965, “The lift on a small sphere in a slow shear flow”, J Fluid Mech
12. Shelby, J. P., Lim, D.S.W., Kuo, J.S., and Chiu, D.T., 2003, “High radial acceleration in
microvortices”, Nature, 425: 38.
13. Higdon, J. J. L. and Muldowney, G. P., 1995, “Residence functions for spherical particles,
droplets and bubbles in cylindrical tubes”, J Fluid Mech, 298:193-210.


Table 1. Wall factor f (Haberman and Sayre, 1958) and upper limit Reynolds number of viscous
regime (Chhabra et al., 2003).
 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9
f 0.79158 0.59534 0.42200 0.27920 0.17036 0.09441 0.04668 0.02040 0.00825
Remax 0.027 0.040 0.050 0.083 0.18 0.52 2.10 8.40 25.17

Table 2. Examined parameters and expected values based on equations 1-4

 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9
d [m] 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008 0.010 0.012 0.014 0.016 0.018
 [Pa s] 0.49 1.96 4.41 7.84 12.25 17.64 24.01 31.36 39.69
fV∞ [m/s] 2.375e-3 1.786e-3 1.266e-3 8.376e-4 5.111e-4 2.832e-4 1.400e-4 6.120e-5 2.474e-5
Re 9.886e-3 3.718e-3 1.757e-3 8.718e-4 4.255e-4 1.965e-4 8.328e-5 3.185e-5 1.144e-5
Mesh Count 332500 44775 12750 5814 2670 1600 1050 760 663
#cells/Diameter 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Table 3. Mesh properties for mesh sensitivity study
# Cells/Diameter 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 15 20
Total Mesh Count 300 720 1536 2670 4932 7812 10464 22800 72900 166680
# Cells/particle volume 8.33 20.00 42.67 74.17 137.00 217.00 290.67 633.33 2025.00 4630.00

Table 4. Main features of the Macroscopic Particle Model

Accurate and Fully Coupled Flow blockage and momentum exchange to fluid due to particles and
Particle-Fluid Interaction explicitly calculates particle forces/torques based on local flow pattern,
pressure field and shear stresses distribution
Particle rotation and spin The rotational/spin effect of particle is properly included in drag/torque
calculation, collision/friction calculation and linear/angular momentum
Particle-Particle and Particle-Wall Hard sphere collision algorithm is implemented in MPM for particle-particle
collisions and particle-wall collisions where collisions are assumed binary and quasi-
instantaneous and particle contact occurs at a point. Motion of wall is taken
into account during particle-wall collision calculations
Particle-Particle and Particle-Wall In many particle-particle systems, field forces besides gravity are important.
Field forces For example, particles might agglomerate because of electrostatic or magnetic
forces. Such forces are implemented in MPM using a potential force model
Continuous particle injection Ability to define start time, stop time and interval time for each injection. The
MPM will inject new particles at regular intervals from the start time to the
stop time.
Particle injection in a cylindrical Ability to define initial particle position and velocity in a cylindrical
coordinate coordinate system.
Random particle injection Option to inject particles from random locations between specified domain
Moving/rotating injection location Option to define rotational and/or translational velocity for injection location.
MPM calculates a new injection location based on these velocities and
releases particles from new positions.
Particle deposition and buildup on A comprehensive model to capture particle deposit and buildup physics. if
defined surfaces any particle collides with predefined surfaces (or with any previously
deposited particles) it will deposit there
Particle interaction with continuous Option to have either one way or two ways coupling of particle motion with
phase fluid flow.
Compatibility with Multiphase Options to choose primary phase, secondary phase or mixture phase velocity
Models calculation of drag force on the particle, if the carrying fluid is multiphase in
Random Particle Packing with a MPM can randomly pack particles in a domain (box or cylinder) based on
Size Distribution particle size distribution (particle size vs volume fraction data)
Cemented Particles MPM has the option to freeze selected particles, these particles don’t move
but affects fluid flow
Brownian Diffusion for sub-micron MPM has the option to include Brownian diffusion forces, where the
size particles components of the Brownian force are modeled as a Gaussian white noise
Options for other drag forces For smaller particles, MPM allows use of Morsi-Alekxander based drag