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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rheology of low to medium consistency pulp fibre suspensions Derakhshandeh, Babak


Papermaking is a major industry to manufacture products vital to education, communication, and packaging. Most operations in this industry deal with the flow of different mass concentrations of pulp suspensions. Therefore, the flow properties (rheology) of pulp suspensions are of great importance for the optimal functionality of most unit operations in the industry. Yield stress is one of the most important rheological properties in designing process equipment, thus needs to be determined by a reliable technique. Two established and extensively used methods for determining yield stress were compared with a velocimetry technique. The yield stresses were determined for commercial pulp suspensions at fibre mass concentrations of 0.5 to 5 wt. %. The results were compared and models were proposed to predict the yield stress as a function of fibre mass concentration. The yield stress values obtained by the velocimetry technique were found to be the most reliable. Conventional rheometry and local velocimetry techniques were further used to study the flow behaviour of pulp suspensions beyond the yield stress. Pulp suspensions were found to be shear-thinning up to a certain high shear rate. The Herschel–Bulkley constitutive equation was used to fit the local steady-state velocity profiles and to predict the steady-state flow curves obtained by conventional rheometry. Conventional rheometry was found to fail at low shear rates due to the presence of wall slip. Consistency between the various sets of data was found for all suspensions studied. Finally, the same approach was used to study thixotropy and transient flow behaviour of concentrated pulp suspension of 6 wt.%. Pulp was found to exhibit a plateau in the flow curve where a slight increase in the shear stress generated a jump in the corresponding shear rate, implying the occurrence of shear banding. The velocity profiles were found to be discontinuous in the vicinity of the yielding radius where a Herschel-Bulkley model failed to predict the flow. Shear history and the time of rest prior to the measurement were found to play a significant role on the rheology and the local velocity profiles of pulp suspension.

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