An experimental study of fiber suspensions between counter-rotating discs

University dissertation from Stockholm : US-AB

Abstract: The behavior of fibers suspended in a flow between two counter-rotating discs has been studied experimentally. This is inspired by the refining process in the papermaking process where cellulose fibers are ground between discs in order to change performance in the papermaking process and/or qualities of the final paper product.To study the fiber behavior in a counter-rotating flow, an experimental set-up with two glass discs was built. A CCD-camera was used to capture images of the fibers in the flow. Image analysis based on the concept of steerable filters extracted the position and orientation of the fibers in the plane of the discs. Experiments were performed for gaps of 0.1-0.9 fiber lengths, and for equal absolute values of the angular velocities for the upper and lower disc. The aspect ratios of the fibers were 7, 14 and 28.Depending on the angular velocity of the discs and the gap between them, the fibers were found to organize themselves in fiber trains. A fiber train is a set of fibers positioned one after another in the tangential direction with a close to constant fiber-to-fiber distance. In the fiber trains, each individual fiber is aligned in the radial direction (i.e. normal to the main direction of the train).The experiments show that the number of fibers in a train increases as the gap between the discs decreases. Also, the distance between the fibers in a train decreases as the length of the train increases, and the results for short trains are in accordance with previous numerical results in two dimensions.Furthermore, the results of different aspect ratios imply that there are three-dimensional fiber end-effects that are important for the forming of fiber trains.

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