The Motion of a Solid Sphere Suspended by a Newtonian or Viscoelastic Jet

J. Feng and D. D. Joseph

J. Fluid Mech. 315, 367-385 (1996)

Abstract - This paper describes experimental observations of a solid sphere suspended by a vertical or inclined jet. A laminar Newtonian jet is able to suspend a sphere only through viscous entrainment at low Reynolds numbers (Re~10). A turbulent Newtonian jet (Re~104) attracts a sphere that is sufficiently large but rejects smaller ones. The Coanda effect is responsible for steady suspension of solid spheres even in highly slanted jets. Anomalous rotation, opposite to the direction of the local shear, occurs under certain conditions, and its physical mechanism cannot be explained based on available information. A viscoelastic laminar jet is narrower than a comparable Newtonian one and it can suspend spheres at Reynolds numbers in the hundreds, precisely the Re range in which a Newtonian jet fails to suspend a sphere. It is suggested that the contrast between laminar Newtonian and viscoelastic jets may be related to a reversal in the pressure distribution on the surface of the sphere caused by non-Newtonian normal stresses. Flow visualization provides insights into the flow field in the jet and around the solid sphere.