Transport of a passive scalar in wide channels with surface topography: An asymptotic theory

J. V. Roggeveen, H. A. Stone, C. Kurzthaler

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2 Scopus citations


We generalize classical dispersion theory for a passive scalar to derive an asymptotic long-time convection-diffusion equation for a solute suspended in a wide, structured channel and subject to a steady low-Reynolds-number shear flow. Our asymptotic theory relies on a domain perturbation approach for small roughness amplitudes of the channel and holds for general surface shapes expandable as a Fourier series. We determine an anisotropic dispersion tensor, which depends on the characteristic wavelengths and amplitude of the surface structure. For surfaces whose corrugations are tilted with respect to the applied flow direction, we find that dispersion along the principal direction (i.e. the principal eigenvector of the dispersion tensor) is at an angle to the main flow direction and becomes enhanced relative to classical Taylor dispersion. In contrast, dispersion perpendicular to it can decrease compared to the short-time diffusivity of the particles. Furthermore, for an arbitrary surface shape represented in terms of a Fourier decomposition, we find that each Fourier mode contributes at leading order a linearly-independent correction to the classical Taylor dispersion diffusion tensor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number274003
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 12 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science


  • dispersion
  • low-Reynolds-number flows
  • surface topography
  • transport


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