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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Particles in a yield-stress fluid : yield limit, sedimentation and hydrodynamic interaction Chaparian, Emad


A theoretical and numerical study of yield-stress fluid creeping flow about a particle is presented motivated by theoretical aspects and industrial applications. Yield stress fluids can hold rigid particles statically buoyant if the yield stress is large enough. In addressing sedimentation of rigid particles in viscoplastic fluids, we should know this critical `yield number' beyond which there is no motion. As we get close to this limit, the role of viscosity becomes negligible in comparison to the plastic contribution in the leading order, since we are approaching the zero-shear-rate limit. Admissible stress fields in this limit can be found by using the characteristics of the governing equations of perfect plasticity (i.e., the sliplines). This approach yields a lower bound of the critical plastic drag force or equivalently the critical yield number. Admissible velocity fields also can be postulated to calculate the upper bound. This analysis methodology is examined for different families of particle shapes. Numerical experiments of either resistance or mobility problems in a viscoplastic fluid validate the predictions of slipline theory and reveal interesting aspects of the flow in the yield limit. For instance, the critical limit is not unique and here we show that for the same critical limit we may have different shaped particles that are cloaked inside the same unyielded envelope. The critical limit (or critical plastic drag coefficient) is related to the unyielded envelope rather than the particle shape. We show how to calculate the unyielded envelope directly. Here we also address the case of having multiple particles, which introduces interesting new phenomena. Firstly, plug regions can appear between the particles and connect them together, depending on the proximity and yield number. This can change the yielding behaviour since the combination forms a larger (and heavier) "particle". Moreover, small particles (that cannot move alone) can be pulled/pushed by larger particles or assembly of particles. Increasing the number of particles leads to interesting chain dynamics, including breaking and reforming.

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