Our first happy event this year is the graduation of Arend van Roon. He recently graduated on a project in the slurry test circuit at our Research and Development department at Damen Dredging Equipment1. His research was an interesting investigation in the detection of flow regimes. It gives some insight in the processes involved in the transport of water-solids mixtures. Let me share some details from the background with you, as I think this might be helpful for your own operation also.
At first sight, it is hard to imagine, how something heavier than water, the grains, can be lifted when the fluid is moving. Sape Miedema has written the standard on mixture transport in his book ‘Slurry Transport’, explaining his approach with the ‘Delft Head Loss & Limit Deposit Velocity Framework2’. Without going into the academic details, I will try to help you grasp the gist of the phenomena.
First the grains have to be picked up. When they are lying on the bottom of the pipe, they are fully immersed, surrounded by the fluid on all sides. The free fluid on top and the pore water between the grains under and on the side of the grains. Now comes Bernoulli’s trick. When the fluid in the pipe starts moving, he says that the local dynamic pressure decreases, while the static fluid in the pores remains at the same pressure. The pressure difference between the pressure in the pores and in the moving fluid, pushes the grains out of the bed into the fluid.
Once the particles are in the fluid are in the fluid, they should stay suspended, or they fall back into the bed. The driving force here is the turbulence in the fluid. Usually dredging slurry mixtures are turbulent. This turbulence causes the fluid to flow in eddies. These are little vortices that generally move in the direction of the flow, but in a moving frame of reference tumble in all directions. Mmh, as they rotate in all directions, why don’t they cancel each other out? Now, imagine being a particle yourself, surfing on those eddies. When it is in a fluid, it tends to sink with a certain settling velocity. Independent of the local movement of the fluid. This means, that on the downward side of the eddy, the particle has a higher total velocity than on the upward side. As the eddy is sort of symmetric, the particle dwells longer in the upward draft than on the downward fall. In this infinitesimal time difference, the eddy transfers some extra kinetic energy from the fluid to the potential energy of the particle. As this loss of kinetic energy is compensated by an increase in pressure (remember Bernoulli) carrying grains in a fluid increases the pressure loss in the slurry transport.
This turbulence is in short the background of suspension in the slurry transport process. Depending on al the various governing parameters: densities, viscosity, diameters, velocities etc, the equilibrium of forces result in several different regimes in the slurry flow. Ranging from homogeneous, through stratified to ultimately a static bed. Each with their own particular pressure losses. And that is what we are interested in. On our dredges, we want to transport as much material to the least amount of energy3. We are constantly looking for improvements in our equipment and sensors to assist the operator in visualising and controlling the actual state of his process4. Thanks to Arend’s project and the promising results, we can set the next step in our product development.
- Innovation, Damen
- Slurry Transport: Fundamentals, A Historical Overview & The Delft Head Loss & Limit Deposit Velocity Framework 2nd Edition, TU Delft
- Innovations In The New MAD Series To Increase Uptime And Reduce Fuel Consumption, Discover Dredging
- Dredging Instrumentation, Damen