Fluid flow in wood fiber network
Sammanfattning: Cellulose material is processed to pulp suspensions and MDF boards in order to produce products such as papers, magazines, laminate floors or door skins. A critical stage of these processes is when the cellulose fiber networks are compressed to specific densities and when most of the fluid originally positioned between and inside the fibers is forced to leave the network. The fiber network is then exposed to a drag force generated by the flow. The magnitude of this force is dependent upon how easy the fluid can flow through the network, which is commonly described by its permeability. In addition to the permeability, which relates to the drag on each fiber, there is a solid network force. The response to this force from the fiber network is often termed as the compressibility of it. Hence, to be able to model and predict the compression stage in cellulose material related processes these two material properties must be known. In this thesis two equipments to measure the permeability of MDF networks and pulp suspensions are evaluated and a neat model for a part of the MDF- compression stage is developed. A reference material consisting of spherical particles and relevant fiber networks are used as test objects for the equipments enabling a comparison to theoretical models and existing experimental results. The outcome is that correct enough permeability data are obtained with respective equipment as long as Reynolds number is sufficiently low. The equipments are then used to study different materials showing, for instance, that highly compressed MDF-networks are strongly anisotropic as to permeability and that the tested hardwood pulps have an overall higher permeability compared to the softwood pulps investigated. It was also found that the permeability of the pulps was not influenced by different mechanical treatments of the fiber network, as long as the geometrical dimensions of the fibers were constants.
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