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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mixing pulp suspensions Bennington, Chad Patrick Joseph


Initiation and maintenance of motion within a pulp suspension is necessary for effective mixing. This requires imposition of forces greater than the network strength and depends on suspension rheology once motion begins. As pulp suspensions display non-Newtonian and solid-like behaviour, studies were conducted using profiled rotors which imposed stress within the body of suspensions contained in cylindrical devices. A concentric cylinder device capable of high torques (85 N-m) and high rotational speeds (524 rad/s) was built to study pulp suspension dynamic behaviour. Most work used a profiled rotor 0.1 m in diameter with baffled housings 0.13 and 0.22 m in diamter. The yield stress of low consistency pulp suspensions were measured with a Haake RV12 Ro-tovisco concentric cylinder viscometer. Semi-bleached kraft pulp was used throughout the study. Some tests were made with stone groundwood and thermomechanical pulps. Yield stress measurements were made for nylon and Spectra-900 fibre suspensions. The yield stress of pulp suspensions, ty, have been measured and correlated with mass concentration (Cm) and volumetric concentration (Cv) over the range 0.4 ≤ Cm(%) ≤ 33. It was found that because of increasing gas content that correlations developed using the mass concentration were inaccurate above approximately 20% Cm. Correlations developed using the volumetric concentration were accurate over the full range tested. For a West-Coast semi-bleached kraft pulp, ty(Pa) = 1.40CV(%)²ֹ⁷². Once rotor motion was initiated, pulp suspensions exhibited two distinct regimes of behaviour. The first was a tangential-cavity regime in which predominantly tangential motion grew to fill the chamber as shear rate increased. When motion reached the outer housing wall a flow transition occurred, likely triggered by flow interaction with the housing baffles. The subsequent post-transition regime was characterized by radial and axial flow that effectively mixed the suspension on both the macroscale and fibre-scale. The flow transition appeared to be what earlier workers reported as the onset of "fluidization". During tangential-cavity flow, phase segregation occurred. Gas present in the suspension collected around the rotor and reduced momentum transfer from the rotor to the suspension. This caused the torque for the pulp suspension to fall below that for water at the same rotational speed, and the cessation of flow development in the chamber. If sufficient momentum transfer was attained to initiate post-transition flow, the chamber contents became effectively mixed. The torque could still fall below that of water depending on the effective density of the suspension in the rotor vicinity.

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