Project title: The flow of non-Newtonian fluids in open channels

Partner: Bechtel Australia Pty Ltd

Brief outline:

The mining industry as well as textile fibre, cellulose, oil and chemical industries and waste treatment facilities often transport their final and intermediate products as slurries (a mixture of water and solids) in pipes and open channels.  The increasing pressure to reduce the amount of water in the preparation of slurries causes the flow properties (known as rheology) of the slurries to become increasingly non-Newtonian, where the fluid viscosity is no longer constant, and can even exhibit a yield stress (where the fluid requires a minimum force before it starts to move). In this situation, the analysis methods commonly employed for water and other Newtonian fluids so well known to civil engineers are no longer applicable.

The aim of this project is to analyse non-Newtonian flow for open channels of different shapes and dimension and for different ranges of rheological parameters (in particular, fluid yield stress).  It is hoped that general analytical solutions for simplified channel geometries in two-dimensions can be obtained for flow field equations that incorporate various rheological models. The outcomes of this project will provide guidance to engineers involved in the design of open channels for transport of non-Newtonian fluids.