Turbulent thermal diffusion of aerosols in geophysics and in laboratory experiments Academic Article uri icon


  • We discuss a new phenomenon of turbulent thermal diffusion associated with turbulent transport of aerosols in the atmosphere and in laboratory experiments. The essence of this phenomenon is the appearance of a nondiffusive mean flux of particles in the direction of the mean heat flux, which results in the formation of large-scale inhomogeneities in the spatial distribution of aerosols that accumulate in regions of minimum mean temperature of the surrounding fluid. This effect of turbulent thermal diffusion was detected experimentally. In experiments turbulence was generated by two oscillating grids in two directions of the imposed vertical mean temperature gradient. We used Particle Image Velocimetry to determine the turbulent velocity field, and an Image Processing Technique based on an analysis of the intensity of Mie scattering to determine the spatial distribution of aerosols. Analysis of the intensity of laser light Mie scattering by aerosols showed that aerosols accumulate in the vicinity of the minimum mean temperature due to the effect of turbulent thermal diffusion.

publication date

  • July 27, 2004