Taylor dispersion

Taylor dispersion

Taylor Dispersion is an effect in fluid mechanics in which a shear flow can increase the effective diffusivity of a species. Essentially, the shear acts to smear out the concentration distribution in the direction of the flow, enhancing the rate at which it spreads in that direction. The effect is named after the British fluid dynamicist G. I. Taylor.

The canonical example is that of a simple diffusing species in uniform
Poiseuille flow through a uniform circular pipe with no-fluxboundary conditions.

We use "z" as an axial coordinate and "r" as the radialcoordinate, and assume axisymmetry. The pipe has radius "a", andthe fluid velocity is

: oldsymbol{u} = what{oldsymbol{z = w_0 (1-r^2/a^2) hat{oldsymbol{z

The concentration of the diffusing species is denoted "c" and its
diffusivity is "D". The concentration is assumed to be governed bythe linear advection–diffusion equation:

: frac{partial c}{partial t} + oldsymbol{u} cdot oldsymbol{ abla} c = D abla^2 c

The concentration and velocity are written as the sum of a cross-sectional average (indicated by an overbar) and a deviation (indicated by a prime), thus:

: w(r) = ar{w} + w'(r): c(r,z) = ar{c}(z) + c'(r,z)

Using the additional assumptions that c' ll ar{c} and that the length scale of axial variation is much greater than "a", it is possible to derive an equation just involving the average quantities:

: frac{partial ar{c{partial t} + ar{w} frac{partial ar{c{partial z} = D left( 1 + frac{a^2 ar{w}^2}{48 D^2} ight) frac{partial^2 ar{c{partial z ^2}

Observe how the effective diffusivity multiplying the derivative on the right hand side is greater than the original value of diffusion coefficient, D. The effective diffusivity is often written as

: D_{mathrm{eff = D left( 1 + frac{1}{192}mathit{Pe}^{2} ight), , where mathit{Pe}=dar{w}/D is the Péclet number, based on the channel diameter d = 2a. The effect of Taylor dispersion is therefore more pronounced at higher Péclet numbers.

Dispersion is also a function of channel geometry. An interesting phenomena for example is that the dispersion of a flow between two infinite flat plates and a rectangular channel, which is infinitely thin, differs approximately 8.75 times. Here the very small side walls of the rectangular channel have an enormous influence on the dispersion.

While the exact formula will not hold in more general circumstances, the mechanism still applies, and the effect is stronger at higher Péclet numbers. Taylor dispersion is of particular relevance for flows in porous media modelled by Darcy's law.


* Aris, R. (1956) doi-inline|10.1098/rspa.1956.0065|On the dispersion of a solute in a fluid flowing through a tube, "Proc. Roy. Soc." A., 235, 67–77.
* Frankel, I. & Brenner, H. (1989) doi-inline|10.1017/S0022112089001679|On the foundations of generalized Taylor dispersion theory, "J. Fluid Mech.", 204, 97–119.
* Taylor, G. I. (1953) doi-inline|10.1098/rspa.1953.0139|Dispersion of soluble matter in solvent flowing slowly through a tube, "Proc. Roy. Soc." A., 219, 186–203.
* Taylor, G. I. (1954) doi-inline|10.1098/rspa.1954.0130|The Dispersion of Matter in Turbulent Flow through a Pipe, "Proc. Roy. Soc." A, 223, 446–468.
* Taylor, G. I. (1954) doi-inline|10.1098/rspa.1954.0216|Conditions under which dispersion of a solute in a stream of solvent can be used to measure molecular diffusion, "Proc. Roy. Soc." A., 225, 473–477.
* Brenner, H. (1980) doi-inline|10.1098/rsta.1980.0205|Dispersion resulting from flow through spatially periodic porous media, "Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lon." A, 297, 81.
* Mestel. J. [http://www.ma.ic.ac.uk/~ajm8/M4A33/taylor.pdf Taylor dispersion — shear augmented diffusion] , "Lecture Handout for Course M4A33", Imerial College.

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