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Efficient mixing at low Reynolds numbers using polymer additives

Groisman, Alexander and Steinberg, Victor (2001) Efficient mixing at low Reynolds numbers using polymer additives. Nature, 410 (6831). pp. 905-908. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/35073524.

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Mixing in fluids is a rapidly developing area in fluid mechanics, being an important industrial and environmental problem. The mixing of liquids at low Reynolds numbers is usually quite weak in simple flows, and it requires special devices to be efficient. Recently, the problem of mixing was solved analytically for a simple case of random flow, known as the Batchelor regime. Here we demonstrate experimentally that very viscous liquids containing a small amount of high-molecular-weight polymers can be mixed quite efficiently at very low Reynolds numbers, for a simple flow in a curved channel. A polymer concentration of only 0.001% suffices. The presence of the polymers leads to an elastic instability and to irregular flow, with velocity spectra corresponding to the Batchelor regime. Our detailed observations of the mixing in this regime enable us to confirm several important theoretical predictions: the probability distributions of the concentration exhibit exponential tails, moments of the distribution decay exponentially along the flow, and the spatial correlation function of concentration decays logarithmically.

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Steinberg, Victor0000-0003-0299-0215
Additional Information:© 2001 Macmillan Magazines Ltd. Received 17 October 2000; Accepted 5 March 2001. We thank G. Falkovich for theoretical guidance and discussions. The work was partially supported by the Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex Systems, by a Research Grant from the Henry Gutwirth Fund and by an Israel Science Foundation grant.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex SystemsUNSPECIFIED
Henry Gutwirth FundUNSPECIFIED
Israeli Science Foundation (ISF)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6831
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150327-092859173
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:56171
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Mar 2015 16:33
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 20:55

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