Orientation of fibres in suspensions flowing over a solid surface
Abstract: The orientation of fibres suspended in a viscous fluid, flowing over a solid surface, has been studied experimentally. A shear layer was generated, by letting the suspension flow down an inclined plate. Far upstream from the measuring section the suspension was accelerated to obtain an initial orientation of the fibres aligned with the flow direction. A CCD-camera was used to visualise the fibres. The velocity profile of the fibres coincided with the theoretical expression for fully developed flow of Newtonian liquid down an inclined wall.The orientation of the fibres was analysed in planes parallel to the solid surface. At distances from the wall larger than one fibre length the fibres performed a tumbling motion in the flow-gradient plane in what appeared to be Jeffery-like orbits. Closer to the wall a difference was found between fibres of aspect ratio rp = 10 and 40. The longer fibres of rp = 40 kept their orientation, aligned with the flow, also in the near wall region. For the shorter fibres the orientation shifted gradually, to orientations closer to the vorticity axis, when the distance from the wall was decreased. In the very proximity to the wall the fibres were aligned with the vorticity, perpendicular to the direction of the flow. Another distinction, most likely related to the fibre orientation, was seen in the wall normal concentration profile. Due to sedimentation effects fibres accumulated in the near wall region. For fibres of rp = 10 a peak in concentration was found at the wall, while for r=40 the maximum concentration was found approximately half a fibre length from the wall. It is previously known that a fibre can interact with the wall in what is referred to as a "pole vaulting" motion away from the wall. It is suggested, as a likely explanation to the location of the maximum concentration, that fibres of rp = 40 perform this motion, while fibres of rp=10 do not.In another experiment the surface of the wall was modified with ridges. For fibres of rp = 10 there were no longer any fibres oriented perpendicular to the flow direction in the near wall region.The main application in mind throughout this work is papermaking. The study is considered to be of fundamental character and is not applicable in a direct sense. The difference between the flow situation in the experiments and the paper machine is discussed further.
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