World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Péclet number

The Péclet number (Pe) is a dimensionless number relevant in the study of transport phenomena in fluid flows. It is named after the French physicist Jean Claude Eugène Péclet. It is defined to be the ratio of the rate of advection of a physical quantity by the flow to the rate of diffusion of the same quantity driven by an appropriate gradient. In the context of the transport of heat, the Peclet number is equivalent to the product of the Reynolds number and the Prandtl number. In the context of species or mass transfer, the Péclet number is the product of the Reynolds number and the Schmidt number.

The Péclet number is defined as:

\mathrm{Pe} = \dfrac{ \mbox{advective transport rate} }{ \mbox{diffusive transport rate} }

For diffusion of matter (mass diffusion), it is defined as:

\mathrm{Pe}_L = \frac{L U}{D} = \mathrm{Re}_L \, \mathrm{Sc}

For diffusion of heat (thermal diffusion), the Péclet number is defined as:

\mathrm{Pe}_L = \frac{L U}{\alpha} = \mathrm{Re}_L \, \mathrm{Pr}.

where L is the characteristic length, U the velocity, D the mass diffusion coefficient, and α the thermal diffusivity,

\alpha = \frac{k}{\rho c_p}

where k is the thermal conductivity, ρ the density, and cp the heat capacity.

In engineering applications the Péclet number is often very large. In such situations, the dependency of the flow upon downstream locations is diminished, and variables in the flow tend to become 'one-way' properties. Thus, when modelling certain situations with high Péclet numbers, simpler computational models can be adopted.[1]

A flow will often have different Péclet numbers for heat and mass. This can lead to the phenomenon of double diffusive convection.

In the context of particulate motion the Péclet numbers have also been called Brenner numbers, with symbol Br, in honour of Howard Brenner.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Patankar, Suhas V. (1980). Numerical Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 102.  
  2. ^ Promoted by S. G. Mason in publications from circa 1977 onward, and adopted by a number of others.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.