Mathematical modeling of the movement of suspended particles subjected to acoustic and flow fields

N. Aboobaker, D. Blackmore, J. Meegoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


When particles are subjected to an acoustic field particle trajectories depend on the particle and fluid compressibility and density values. Hence a combination of acoustic and flow fields on particles can be used to deflect and trap, or to segregate and/or fractionate fine particles in fluid suspensions. Using particle physics in an acoustic field, a mathematical model was developed to calculate trajectories of deflected particles due to the application of acoustic standing waves. The resulting second order ordinary differential equation was quite stiff and hence difficult to solve numerically and did not have a closed form solution. The analysis of the above equation showed that the basic problems with numerical solutions could not be ameliorated through the use of standard rescaling techniques. A combination of phase space and asymptotic analysis turns out to be far more useful in obtaining approximate solutions. An approximate solution was derived which enabled the calculation of the particle trajectories and concentration at collection planes in the acoustic field. Analysis of the solution showed that all the particles move toward the pressure node to which the particles are supposed to move. Particles with 2 μm diameter took approximately 20s to reach that node. Then at the bench scale, the above technology was implemented by building a flow chamber with two transducers at opposite ends to generate an acoustic standing wave. SiC particle trajectories were tracked using captured digital images from a high-resolution microscope. The displacements of SiC particles due to an acoustic force were compared with the mathematical model predictions. For input power levels between 3.0 and 5.0 W, the experimental data were comparable to mathematical model predictions. Hence it was concluded that the proposed approximate solution was both quantitatively and qualitatively closer to experimental results than the simplified form ignoring the second order term reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-532
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Mathematical Modelling
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Acoustic field
  • Approximate solution
  • Fractionation
  • Mathematical model
  • Particle trajectories
  • Segregation
  • Silicon carbide
  • Standing wave


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