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Caustics in turbulent aerosols

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Abstract

Networks of caustics can occur in the distribution of particles suspended in a randomly moving gas. These can facilitate coagulation of particles by bringing them into close proximity, even in cases where the trajectories do not coalesce. We show that the long-time morphology of these caustic patterns is determined by the Lyapunov exponents lambda_1, lambda_2 of the suspended particles, as well as the rate J at which particles encounter caustics. We develop a theory determining the quantities J, lambda_1, lambda_2 from the statistical properties of the gas flow, in the limit of short correlation times.

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