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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Macroscale mixing and dynamic behavior of agitated pulp stock chests Ein-Mozaffari, Farhad


Agitated pulp chests provide attenuation of high-frequency disturbances in fibre mass concentration, freeness and other quality factors. This contrasts with process control loops, which attenuate low-frequency variations. Dynamic tests made on industrial stock chests show the existence of non-ideal flows such as channeling, recirculation and dead zones. Since these non-ideal flows reduce the degree of disturbance attenuation from the chests, they have been considered in the dynamic modeling of the chest. This model allows for two parallel suspension flow paths: a mixing zone consisting of a first order plus delay transfer function with a positive feedback for recirculation, and a channeling zone consisting of a first order plus delay transfer function. A new identification method was developed for estimation of dynamic model parameters. A scale-model stock chest was designed and built to study macroscale mixing and disturbance attenuation in a laboratory setting. Fully bleached kraft pulp (FBK) was used for preparation of the pulp suspensions. First preliminary batch studies were made on the scalemodel chest to characterize its behavior and to develop test protocols for use in dynamic tests. Initial tests in batch-mode confirmed established trends for the power required for chest behavior, although existing literature correlations underpredict the power and momentum flux requirements need for complete motion inside the chest. Our visual observation with the aid of a digital video camera showed that the power recommended by existing design criteria is not sufficient to eliminate stagnant zones and even when the whole suspension is in motion, poor mixing regions, where pulp flows significantly slower than in the bulk motion zone, still exist inside the chest. Dynamic response of liquid and solid phase tracers showed that a liquid phase tracer (saline solution) can be used to trace the fibre phase provided the fibre mass concentration is > 2%. It was found that mixing-time for the laboratory chest is both a function of impeller momentum flux and fibre mass concentration. The extent of non-ideal flow in the scale-model chest was evaluated by exciting the system. The process of model identification required two experiments. In the first experiment, the input signal was a rectangular pulse, which allowed the estimation of an approximate model for designing the excitation for the second experiment. The excitation energy for the second experiment was chosen at frequencies where the magnitude of the Bode plot is sensitive to parameter variations. A frequency-modulated random binary input signal was designed for this purpose. Dynamic test results showed that the extent of non-ideal flow and the degree of disturbance attenuation are significantly affected by the location of the input and output in the chest, the fibre mass concentration, the impeller speed and diameter, and the pulp flow rate through the chest. At higher pulp flow rates and fibre mass concentration greater than 3% the system is prone to a high percentage of channeling and dead volume, and a low degree of upset attenuation even at impeller speeds above the criteria of complete motion used to size the chest. Under these circumstances, the degree of disturbance attenuation could be improved by reducing the pulp flow rate through the chest, increasing impeller speed, or decreasing fibre mass concentration. It was found that the degree of upset attenuation is a function of the impeller momentum flux, rather than the power input. Dynamic tests made on scale-model and industrial chests showed that the power calculated based on smooth surface motion and even the onset of complete motion inside the chest does not completely eliminate dead volume and channeling. Additional power is required to have a desired dynamic response from the chest.

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