Licentiate seminar

Velocity measurements in a fiber suspension flow: formation of a fiber network

Defendant Main Advisor Extra Advisor Date
Gabriele Bellani Fredrik Lundell Daniel Söderberg 2008-10-29

Staffan Lundström, Luleå University

Evaluation committee


The aim of the present work is to experimentally study the dynamics of the formation of a fiber network formed from the filtration of a fiber suspension. This is relevant for all industrial applications (e.g. papermaking, productions of composite material, etc.) where a suspension of fibers has to flow through narrow gaps, and the quality of the product depends on the distribution of mass and orientation of the fibers. To study the dynamics of network formation, we developed an experimen- tal setup where the filtration of a fiber suspension through a semi-permeable screen can be studied. In the setup, both the fluid and the solid phase can be visualized. The focus of the present thesis is to study the fluid flow generated during the filtration. Index of refraction matching, image processing and particle image ve- locimetry have been used to measure the velocity field in the proximity of the resulting fiber network. Experiments with varying fiber length and filtration velocity have been performed. The disturbances generated by the screen and the forming network was found to be confined in a region (boundary region ), whose extension varies with time: first, after the formation of the first fiber layers, the extent of the boundary region increases; at later times, the boundary region is thinner. The extent appears to be correlated to the gap size either of the screen (at very early times) or of the fiber network, but independent of the filtration velocity. Fluctuations on a scale larger than a fiber length are also observed during the filtration process. These fluctuations are found to be correlated to the non- dimensional number S e that relates the sedimentation velocity of a fiber to the filtration velocity. The governing non-dimensional parameters are derived from the equations. The parameters are used to relate the experimental observations to the dewa- tering process in papermaking.
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