Levitation of heavy particles against gravity in asymptotically downward flows

Jean Régis Angilella, Daniel J. Case, Adilson E. Motter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the fluid transport of particles, it is generally expected that heavy particles carried by a laminar fluid flow moving downward will also move downward. We establish a theory to show, however, that particles can be dynamically levitated and lifted by interacting vortices in such flows, thereby moving against gravity and the asymptotic direction of the flow, even when they are orders of magnitude denser than the fluid. The particle levitation is rigorously demonstrated for potential flows and supported by simulations for viscous flows. We suggest that this counterintuitive effect has potential implications for the air-transport of water droplets and the lifting of sediments in water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031103
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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