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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pipe flow of homogeneous slurry Hallbom, Donald John


The objective of this Thesis is to devise a system for the "rheology-based design" of non-settling (homogeneous) slurry pipelines that is more conducive to application by practicing engineers without impairing its accuracy or utility for research purposes. The cornerstone is the development of a new rheological model and constitutive equation for homogeneous slurry based on the aggregation/deaggregation of the suspended mineral particles. This “yield plastic” model is shown to describe a family of models that includes the Newtonian, Bingham plastic and Casson models as special cases. It also closely approximates the results of many consistency models, including power law, yield power law, Cross and Carreau-Yasuda. The yield plastic model is then used to develop design equations to determine the pressure-gradient of laminar and turbulent pipe flow. A relative energy dissipation criterion is proposed for the laminar-turbulent transition and shown to be consistent with currently used transition models for Newtonian and Bingham fluids. Finally, a new dimensionless group (the “stress number”) is proposed that is directly proportional to the pressure-gradient and independent of the velocity. When the design equations are presented graphically in terms of the stress number and the plastic Reynolds number, the resulting “design curve diagram” is shown to be a dimensionless (pressure-gradient vs. velocity) pipe flow curve. The net result is that the hydraulic design of homogeneous slurry systems only requires the use of a single constitutive equation and three engineering design equations. The results are presented in a conceptually easy form that will foster an intuitive understanding of non-Newtonian pipe flow. This will assist engineers to understand the impact of slurry rheology when designing, operating and troubleshooting slurry pipelines and, in the future, other slurry related processes.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International