Solid or deformable particles suspended in a viscous fluid are of scientific and technological interest in a broad range of applications. Pyroclastic flows from volcanoes, sedimentation flows in river bed, food industries, oil-well drilling, as well as blood flow in the human body and the motion of suspended micro-organisms in water (like plankton) are among the possible examples. Often, in these particulate flows, the carrier fluid might exhibit an inelastic or a visco-elastic non-Newtonian behavior. Understanding the behavior of these suspensions is a very difficult task. Indeed, the complexities and challenges of multiphase flows are mainly due to the large number of governing parameters such as the physical properties of the particles (e.g., shape, size, stiffness, density difference with suspended fluid, solid volume fraction), the large set of interactions among particles and the properties of the carrier fluid (Newtonian or non-Newtonian); variations of each of these parameters may provide substantial quantitative and qualitative changes in the behavior of the suspension and affect the overall dynamics in several and sometimes surprising ways. The aim of this work is therefore to provide a deeper understanding of the behavior of particle suspensions in laminar Newtonian and non-Newtonian (inelastic and/or visco-elastic) fluid flows for a wide range of different parameters. To this purpose, particle-resolved direct numerical simulations of spherical particles are performed, using an efficient and accurate numerical tool. The code is based on the Immersed Boundary Method (IBM) for the fluid-solid interactions with lubrication, friction and collision models for the close range particle-particle (particle-wall) interactions. Both inelastic (Carreau and power-law), and visco-elastic models (Oldroyd-B and Giesekus) are employed to investigate separately the shear-thinning, shear-thickening, viscoelastic and combined shear-thinning visco-elastic features of the most commonly encountered non-Newtonian fluids. Moreover, a fully Eulerian numerical algorithm based on the one-continuum formulation is used to examine the case of an hyper-elastic neo-Hookean deformable particle suspended in a Newtonian flows.

Firstly, we have investigated suspensions of solid spheres in Newtonian, shear thinning and shear thickening fluids in the simple shear flow created by two walls moving in opposite directions, considering various solid volume fractions and particle Reynolds numbers, thus including inertial effects. The results show that that the non-dimensional relative viscosity of of the suspension and the mean value of the local shear-rate can be well predicted by homogenization theory, more accurately for lower particle concentrations. Moreover, we show that in the presence of inertia, the effective viscosity of these suspensions deviates from that of Stokesian suspensions.

We also examine the role of fluid elasticity, shear-thinning and combined shear-thinning visco-elastic effects on the simple linear Couette shear flow of neutrally-buoyant rigid spherical particles. It is found that the effective viscosity grows monotonically with the solid volume fraction and that all the Non-Newtonian cases exhibit a lower effective viscosity than the Newtonian ones; in addition, we show that elastic effects dominate at low elasticity whereas shear thinning is predominant at high applied shear rates. These variations in the effective viscosity are mainly due to changes in the particle-induced shear stress component.

We then study the settling of spherical particles in quiescent wall-bounded Newtonian and shear-thinning fluids at three different solid volume fractions. We find that the mean settling velocities decrease with the particle concentration as a consequence of the hindering effect and thatthe mean settling speed is always larger in the shear thinning fluid than in the Newtonian one, due to the reduction of the local fluid viscosity around the particles which leads to a lower drag force acting on the particles.

Finally, the inertial migration of hyper-elastic deformable particle in laminar pipe flows is also investigated. We consider different flow rates and various levels of particle elasticity. We observe that the particle deforms and experiences a lateral movement while traveling downstream through the pipe, always finding a stable position at the pipe centerline.