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A modelling and experimental study of the bubble trajectory in a non-Newtonian crystal suspension
This paper presents an experimental and computational study of air bubbles rising in a massecuite-equivalent non-Newtonian crystal suspension. The bubble trajectory inside the stagnant liquid of a 0.05% xanthan gum crystal suspension was investigated and modelled using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model to gain an insight into the bubble flow characteristics. The CFD code FLUENT was used for numerical simulation, and the bubble trajectory calculations were performed through a volume of fluid (VOF) model. The influences of the Reynolds number (Re), the Weber number (We) and the bubble aspect ratio (E) on the bubble trajectory are discussed. The conditions for the bubbles’ path oscillations are identified. The experimentalresults showed that the path instability for the crystal suspension was less rapid than in water. The trajectory analysis indicated that 5.76mm diameter bubbles followed a zigzag motion in the crystal suspension. Conversely, the smaller bubbles (5.76 mm) followed a path of least horizontal movement and larger bubbles (21.21 mm) produced more spiral motion within the crystal suspension. Path instability occurred for bubbles of 15.63 and 21.21mm diameter, and they induced both zigzag and spiral trajectories within the crystal suspension. At low Re and We, smaller bubbles (5.76 mm) produced a zigzag trajectory, whereas larger bubbles (15.63 and 21.21 mm) showed both zigzag and spiral trajectories at intermediate and moderately high Re and We in the crystal suspension. The simulation results illustrated that a repeating pattern of swirling vortices was created for smaller bubbles due to the unstable wake and unsteady flow of these bubbles. This is the cause of the smaller bubbles moving in a zigzag way. Larger bubbles showed two counter-rotating trailing vortices at the back of the bubble. These vortices induced a velocity componentto the gas–liquid interface and caused a deformation. Hence, the larger bubbles produced a path transition.