Have a look at how the nDynamics Volume Axis Field in Maya can add details to particle effects.
Check out this simple walkthrough from the Sang Sang (Imagination) channel on Youtube. The tutorial covers working with the Maya Volume Axis Field to get more details and effects out of nParticle animations.
While Maya Bifrost offers node-based speed and flexibility out of these types of simulations, there is nothing simpler than working with nDynamics for ease of use and a quick way to get particle effects.
An underlooked force in Maya, the Volume Axis Field allows you to move objects and particles in specific directions as a volume. You can use the Volume Axis field to create effects such as particles flowing around obstacles, solar flares, mushroom clouds, explosions, tornadoes, and rocket exhaust.