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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Passage of fibres through screen apertures Ashok, Kumar


Passage of fibres suspended in water through apertures of dimensions greater than a fibre length and less than a fibre diameter has been examined at flow conditions approximating those in a pulp screen (large velocity parallel to the wall upstream of the aperture compared to the flow velocity within the aperture). Fibre behaviour was characterized in terms of three components: penetration of the leading tip into the aperture, rotation of the fibres on the downstream edge of the aperture, and fibre bending. Dimensionless numbers for each of these factors were derived from simple mass and force balances of fibres at an aperture entry. Experimental measurements of the magnitude of fibre passage were made on a single aperture located in a flow channel and in multiple apertures in a device simulating a commercial pulp screen in cross-section. For stiff fibres, it was found that fibre passage changed greatly with the ratio of fibre length to aperture width (L/W). When L/W was less than 2, the relationship between fibre passage and aperture velocity was approximately an exponential curve. The passage data correlated well with the penetration parameter. On the other hand, when L/W > 2, up to measured values of L/W = 6, the relationship between fibre passage and aperture velocity corresponded to a cumulative probability distribution curve. This latter behaviour, and the absence of a correlation with penetration and rotation parameters, was ascribed to contact between the tip of the rotating fibre and the upstream wall of the aperture. This was confirmed by experimental observations. Flexible long (L/W > 2) fibres showed behaviour between the two cases described above. The above observations were found to hold qualitatively for elevated concentrations up to a crowding factor of 4, multiple apertures, and the presence of pulses induced by a rotor of the type found in pulp screens. Accordingly, it appears that the findings are likely to hold in pulp pressure screens. An implication of this finding is that long stiff fibres may be best separated from short ones by choosing an aperture size such that L/W > 2 for the long fibre fraction and < 2 for the short fibre fraction.

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