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A Computational Technique for Turbulent Flow of Wastewater Sludge

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A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technique applied to the turbulent flow of wastewater sludge in horizontal, smooth-wall, circular pipes is presented. The technique uses the Crank−Nicolson finite difference method in conjunction with the variable secant method, an algorithm for determining the pressure gradient of the flow. A simple algebraic turbulence model is used. A Bingham-plastic rheological model is used to describe the shear stress/shear rate relationship for the wastewater sludge. The method computes velocity gradient and head loss, given a fixed volumetric flow, pipe size, and solids concentration. Solids concentrations ranging from 3 to 10% (by weight) and nominal pipe sizes from 0.15 m (6 in.) to 0.36 m (14 in.) are studied. Comparison of the CFD results for water to established values serves to validate the numerical method. The head loss results are presented in terms of a head loss ratio, Rhl, which is the ratio of sludge head loss to water head loss. An empirical equation relating Rhl to pipe velocity and solids concentration, derived from the results of the CFD calculations, is presented. The results are compared with published values of Rhl for solids concentrations of 3 and 6%. A new expression for the Fanning friction factor for wastewater sludge flow is also presented.

Keywords: pipe flow; turbulent flow; wastewater sludge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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