Viscoelastic fluid flow in microporous media

Ibezim, Victor, Poole, Robert J ORCID: 0000-0001-6686-4301 and Dennis, David JC ORCID: 0000-0003-0214-7885
(2021) Viscoelastic fluid flow in microporous media. Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, 296. p. 104638.

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This paper describes an experimental investigation of the flow of flexible polymer solutions through a distinctive micro-porous structure (typical pore sizes of 500 microns) with the primary focus on the interaction of the viscoelasticity of the working fluid with the micro-porous structure. In particular, we relate the bulk flow properties to measurable rheological parameters, demonstrating that a key parameter in estimating the pressure drop through the porous media (for a variety of polymer types, concentrations, solvents, molecular weights, and states of degradation) is the extensional relaxation time (or, more correctly, a characteristic time for extensional stress growth). A Weissenberg number (Wi) is calculated as a product of this extensional relaxation time and the nominal shear rate in the flow. Results, suitably normalised with Newtonian pressure-drop data, show a critical Wi of roughly 0.01 where all working fluids in two different pore structures reveal the onset of elastic dominance over viscous forces as the flowrate increases. Such a low critical value of Wi is due to the estimate of a nominal shear rate based on pore size, which severely underestimates the maximum shear rates within the complex pore structure. Significant deviation from the universal behaviour is observed for high concentrations of the polyacrylamide, which is thought to be a result of shear-thinning for these systems. Systematic degradation of the polyethylene oxide solutions caused an exponential decay in elasticity, which is reflected in the pressure-drop measurements. These imply that, although the flow through porous media is known to be a complex combination of both shear and extensional flow, the extensional effects are of primary importance in this context (or that transient stretching in the media is well represented by this relaxation time) of viscoelasticity. The findings highlight the significance of the transient extensional flow through the neck regions between the pores of the media, which are regions of contraction/expansion.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Porous media, Viscoelasticity, Polymer solution, Pressured drop
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2021 10:06
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:33
DOI: 10.1016/j.jnnfm.2021.104638
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