Microfluidic Rheometry and Particle Settling: Characterizing the Effect of Polymer Solution Elasticity

Faroughi, Salah
Del Giudice, Francesco
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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
The efficient transport of solid particles using polymeric fluids is an important step in many industrial operations. Different viscoelastic fluids have been designed for this purpose, however, the effects of elasticity have not been fully integrated in examining the particle-carrying capacity of the fluids. In this work, two elastic fluid formulations were employed to experimentally clarify the effect of elasticity on the particle drag coefficient as a proxy model for measuring carrying capacity. Fluids were designed to have a constant shear viscosity within a specific range of shear rates, ẏ < 50 (1/s), while possessing distinct (longest) relaxation times to investigate the influence of elasticity. It is shown that for dilute polymeric solutions, microfluidic rheometry must be practiced to obtain a reliable relaxation time (as one of the measures of viscoelasticity), which is on the order of milliseconds. A calibrated experimental setup, furnished with two advanced particle velocity measurement techniques and spheres with different characteristics, was used to quantify the effect of elasticity on the drag coefficient. These experiments led to a unique dataset in moderate levels of Weissenberg numbers, 0 < Wi < 8.5. The data showed that there is a subtle reduction in the drag coefficient at low levels of elasticity (Wi<1), and a considerable enhancement at high levels of elasticity (Wi > 1). The experimental results were then compared with direct numerical simulation predictions yielding R2 = 0.982. These evaluations endorse the numerically quantified behaviors for the drag coefficient to be used to compare the particle-carrying capacity of different polymeric fluids under different flow conditions.
viscoelasticity, particle settling, dilute polymeric solutions, oldroyd-B model, microfluidic rheometry, drag coefficient, hydraulic fracturing, Ingram School of Engineering
Faroughi, S. A., & Del Giudice, F. (2022). Microfluidic rheometry and particle settling: Characterizing the effect of polymer solution elasticity. Polymers, 14(04), 657.