Get access

A numerical study of particle motion and two-phase interaction in aeolian sand transport using a coupled large eddy simulation – discrete element method



Wind-blown sand movement, considered as a particle-laden two-phase flow, was simulated by a new numerical code developed in the present study. The discrete element method was employed to model the contact force between sand particles. Large eddy simulation was used to solve the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer. Motions of sand particles were traced in the Lagrangian frame. Within the near-surface region of the atmospheric boundary layer, interparticle collisions will significantly alter the velocity of sand. The sand phase is quite dense in this region, and its feedback force on fluid motion cannot be ignored. By considering the interparticle collision and two-phase interaction, four-way coupling was achieved in the numerical code. Profiles of sand velocity from the simulations were in good agreement with experimental measurements. The mass flux shows an exponential decay and is comparable to reported experimental and field measurements. The turbulence intensities and shear stress of sand particles were estimated from particle root-mean-square velocities. Distributions of slip velocity and feedback force were analysed to reveal the interactions between sand particles and the continuous fluid phase.