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Super-diffusion in sheared suspensions
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We investigate the dispersion of a layer of dye initially applied at the outer wall of a cylindrical Couette-cell into a sheared suspension of non-Brownian spherical particles. The process is directly visualized and quantified at the particle scale. A “rolling-coating” mechanism is found to convectively transport the dye at a constant rate directly from the wall towards the bulk. The fluid velocity fluctuations,
u′, measured with particle image velocimetry, and the imposed shear-rate,
, are used to define a diffusion coefficient,
, which is found to increase linearly with the distance from the wall. A solution of the transport equation accounting for this inhomogeneous stirring field describes quantitatively the concentration profiles measured experimentally. It exhibits a super-diffusive character, a consequence of the increase of the stirring strength with distance from the wall. Movies are available with the online version of the paper.
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