Flow conditions in the groovs of a LC-refiner

Authors: Prahl Wittberg, L., Björkman, , Khokhar, G., Mohlin, , Dahlkild, A. A.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Nordic Pulp and Paper Research Journal
Volume: 27   173-183
Year: 2012


The flow pattern in the grooves plays a major role for the homogeneity of refining as well as for the transfer and loading of fiber flocs in refining position on the bar edges. However, it is an area where very little information is available. In the present study, flow conditions in the grooves in a Low-Consistency (LC)-disc refiner were studied both experimentally and numerically. The experimental study involved high-speed imaging through a 3 cm peephole into a commercial refiner. The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation focused on the flow condition in a radial groove, considering both Newtonian and non-Newtonian flows. Flow conditions for stator and rotor grooves were modeled along the groove at different angular speeds and pressure differences over the refiner. Both the experimental and the modeling results show a dual flow pattern in the grooves; a rotational/spiral movement at the top of the groove and a flow in the direction of the groove at the bottom, which to the authors knowledge has not been reported in literature. The strong vortical motion at the top of the grooves observed both for the rotor and the stator are believed to be important for placing the fibers onto the bar edges and to induce shear forces in such a way that the fibers get treated. Moreover, a large sensitivity to suspension properties in terms of the development of flow pattern was detected.