Non-Darcian flow of shear-thinning fluids through packed beads: Experiments and predictions using Forchheimer’s law and Ergun’s equation
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
The flow of shear-thinning fluids through unconsolidated porous media is present in a number of impor- tant industrial applications such as soil depollution, Enhanced Oil Recovery or filtration of polymeric liq- uids. Therefore, predicting the pressure drop–flow rate relationship in model porous media has been the scope of major research efforts during the last decades. Although the flow of Newtonian fluids through packs of spherical particles is well understood in most cases, much less is known regarding the flow of shear-thinning fluids as high molecular weight polymer aqueous solutions. In particular, the experimen- tal data for the non-Darcian flow of shear-thinning fluids are scarce and so are the current approaches for their prediction. Given the relevance of non-Darcian shear-thinning flow, the scope of this work is to perform an experimental study to systematically evaluate the effects of fluid shear rheology on the flow rate–pressure drop relationships for the non-Darcian flow through different packs of glass spheres. To do so, xanthan gum aqueous solutions with different polymer concentrations are injected through four packs of glass spheres with uniform size under Darcian and inertial flow regimes. A total of 1560 experimen- tal data are then compared with predictions coming from different methods based on the extension of widely used Ergun’s equation and Forchheimer’s law to the case of shear thinning fluids, determining the accuracy of these predictions. The use of a proper definition for Reynolds number and a realistic model to represent the rheology of the injected fluids results in the porous media are shown to be key aspects to successfully predict pressure drop–flow rate relationships for the inertial shear-thinning flow in packed beads.
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