We investigate the dynamics of rigid, spherical particles of radius R sinking in a viscous fluid. Both the inertia of the particles and the fluid are neglected. We are interested in a large number N of particles with average distance d ≫ R. We investigate in which regime (in terms of N and R/d) the particles do not significantly interact and approximately sink like single particles. We rigorously establish the lower bound Ncrit ≥ C (R d)3/2 for the critical number N crit of particles. This lower bound agrees with the heuristically expected Ncrit in terms of its scaling in R/d. The main difficulty lies in showing that the particles cannot get significantly closer over a relevant time scale. We use the method of reflection for the Stokes operator to bound the strength of the particle interaction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Mathematical Physics