The effect of pressure pulsing on the mechanical dewatering of nanofiber suspensions

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Abstract

Dewatering processes are invariably encountered in the chemical manufacturing and processing of various bioproducts. In this study, Computational Fluid Mechanics (CFD) simulations and theory are utilized to model and optimize the dewatering of commercial nanofiber suspensions. The CFD simulations are based on the volume-averaged Navier-Stokes equations, while the analytical model is deduced from the empirical Darcy's law for dewatering flows. The results are successfully compared to experimental data on commercial cellulose suspensions obtained with a Dynamic Drainage Analyzer (DDA). Both the CFD simulations and the analytical model capture the dewatering flow profiles of the commercial suspensions in an experiment using a constant pressure profile. However, a temporally varying pressure profile offers a superior dewatering performance, as indicated by both the simulations and the analytical model. Finally, the analytical model also predicts an optimized number of pressure pulses, minimizing the time required to completely dewater the suspension.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number115267
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Computational fluid dynamics, Darcy's law, Dewatering, Nanocellulose, Pressure optimization

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