On two‐phase modeling of dewatering pulp suspensions

Daniel T. Paterson, Tom S. Eaves (Lead / Corresponding author), Duncan R. Hewitt, Neil J. Balmforth, D. Mark Martinez

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Abstract

An experimental study of the dewatering of wood‐pulp fiber suspensions by uniaxial compression is presented, to rationalize their dewatering dynamics within a two‐phase framework. Twenty‐seven pulp suspensions are examined, encompassing materials with different origins, preparation methodologies, and secondary treatments. For each suspension in this library, the network permeability and compressive yield stress are calibrated at low rates of dewatering. Faster compressions are then used to verify that a solid bulk viscosity is essential to match two‐phase model predictions with experimental observations, and to parameterize its magnitude. By comparing the results with a suspension of nylon fibers, we demonstrate that none of the wood‐pulp suspensions behave like an idealized fibrous porous medium. Nevertheless, the properties of pulp fiber networks can be reconciled within a two‐phase framework, and comparisons made between different wood‐pulp suspensions and between wood‐pulp and nylon fibers, by appealing to potential microstructural origins of their macroscopic behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17277
Number of pages18
JournalAIChE Journal
Early online date16 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • fibers
  • multiphase flow
  • porous media
  • solid/liquid separations
  • suspensions

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