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Particle-laden Plumes & Jets

Particle-laden plumes and jets occur in many industrial, as well as environmental, processes. Examples of industrial plumes include gaseous emissions into the atmosphere and liquid effluents discharged into rivers and coastal waters, both of which normally contain very fine particles. Particle-laden jets have been used to improve heat transfer in fluidised bed heat exchangers; and, impinging plumes and jets may allow the control of the nucleation step in precipitation processes. In the natural environment, particle laden plumes may be exemplified by hydrothermal flows at the bottom of the ocean, which introduce large amounts of fine metalliferous particles, dissolved chemicals, and heat into the ocean.

In this PhD project, we conducted laboratory experiments and developed a model for the dynamics and deposition pattern of radially spreading gravity currents generated by particle-laden plumes and jets. We applied our model to estimate the patterns of sedimentation from industrial chimney emissions.

Photographs of particle-laden plumes in the laboratory (click images to enlarge)

stable veil thumb
The environment surrounding the plume is stable
unstable veil thumb
The environment surrounding the plume is unstable, leading to the formation of finger-like convective instabilities with high concentration of particles.