Effects of Particle Concentration on the Partitioning of Suspensions at Small Divergent Bifurcations

[+] Author and Article Information
R. Ditchfield, W. L. Olbricht

School of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

J Biomech Eng 118(3), 287-294 (Aug 01, 1996) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2796009 History: Received September 01, 1994; Revised June 14, 1995; Online October 30, 2007


Experimental results are reported for the low Reynolds number flow of a suspension of spherical particles through a divergent capillary bifurcation consisting of a straight tube of circular cross-section that splits to form two tubes of equal diameter. The partitioning of particles between the downstream branches of the bifurcation is measured as a function of the partitioning of total volume (particles + suspending fluid) between the branches. Two bifurcation geometries are examined: a symmetric Y-shaped bifurcation and a nonsymmetric T-shaped bifurcation. This experiment focuses on the role of hydrodynamic interactions between particles on the partitioning of particles at the bifurcation. The particle diameter, made dimensionless with respect to the diameter of the branch tubes, ranges from 0.4 to 0.8. Results show that hydrodynamic interactions among the particles are significant at the bifurcation, even for conditions where interactions are unimportant in the straight branches away from the bifurcation. As a result of hydrodynamic interactions among particles at the bifurcation, the partitioning of particles between the branches is affected for particle volume fractions as small as 2 percent. The experimental results show that the effect of particle volume fraction is to diminish the inhomogeneity of particle partitioning at the bifurcation. However, the magnitude of this effect depends strongly on the overall shape of the bifurcation geometry, and, in particular on the angles between the branches.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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