Licentiate seminar

Orientation of elongated particles in shear and extensional flow

Defendant Main Advisor Extra Advisor Date
Karl Håkansson Daniel Söderberg 2012-06-15

Mats Nigam,

Evaluation committee


Elongated particles in fluid flows are a big part of the world we are living in. Gaining knowledge on how particles behave in different fluid flows can potentially increase the efficiency of industrial processes and decrease the world's energy consumption as well as improve the properties of future materials. In this thesis, the orientation of elongated particles in two different flows are studied. The first case is a dilute fibre suspension in a turbulent flow and the second case is a semi-dilute fibril dispersion in a laminar flow. The fibres (cellulose acetate) are at least three orders of magnitude larger than the fibrils (nano-fibrillated cellulose). The turbulent flow case is half of a full channel flow, characterised by the friction Reynolds number, and is experimentally examined. This experiment is closely related to the papermaking process. Laser Doppler velocimetry measurements are preformed without fibres in order to make sure that the flow is turbulent and fully developed. Images of the fibres in the flow are acquired using a CCD-camera, from which it is possible to detect the fibres in an image processing step and extract both the positions and orientations of the fibres. A large parameter study is carried out, where the aspect ratio of the fibres, concentration and Reynolds number are changed. Short fibres are observed to align perpendicular to the flow, while the longer fibres are found to align in the flow direction. The fibres are also seen to accumulate in streamwise streaks, believed to be caused by velocity structures in the turbulent flow. The second flow case studied focusses on a semi-dilute dispersion in a laminar flow. It includes both experiments and numerical calculations of the fibril orientation. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that it is possible to control the fibril orientation with a fluid. In a semi-dilute dispersion, fibrils are interacting. However, no flocs or networks are formed. A flow focusing apparatus is used in order to hydrodynamically accelerate the dispersion with an outer fluid (sheath) flow. The mean orientation in the flow direction is experimentally studied by detecting the birefringence of the flowing dispersion. The orientation distribution is calculated by solving the Smoluchowski equation. The fibrils are seen to align in the flow direction both in the experiments and the calculations. Moreover, the alignment is found to increase with increasing acceleration.
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