Infoscience

Thesis

Dam Break of Newtonian Fluids and Granular Suspensions: Internal Dynamics Measurements

The objective of this thesis was to increase our understanding of two-phase geophysical flows (e.g. debris flows) by providing velocity profiles in idealized laboratory avalanches. To that end, we developed a new experimental platform made up of an inclined flume coupled to an imaging system to measure velocity in granular suspension. The inclined flume was 3.5 m long and 10 cm wide and could be inclined from 0 to 35°. A reservoir with the capacity for 10 l of fluid was located in the upper part of the flume and closed with a pneumatic controlled gate. Velocity profiles were obtained using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and index-of-refraction matching of the solid and liquid phases. We used transparent PMMA beads with mean diameters of 200 µm and the interstitial fluid was composed of a mixture of three fluids. The interstitial fluid was adapted in order to match the refraction index and the density of the solid phase. Using pulsed laser and a high speed camera we were able to measure velocity profiles at frequencies up to 1000 Hz with very good precision. Two additional cameras tracked the front position along the flume with a frequency of 30 Hz and a spatial resolution of 1 mm. Prior to acquiring data on the granular suspension, we tested our system on Newtonian fluids. Eight flow configurations were selected with different fluids (glycerol and triton X100), different slopes and different released masses. Velocity profiles were found to be parabolic far from the front as well as very close to the contact line. However, near the front, quantitative theoretical predictions given by lubrication theory diverged from experimental results. Velocities were significantly overestimated (∼ 400%) by the theory at low Reynolds numbers (Re < 2) and slightly underestimated (∼ 10%) at high Reynolds numbers (Re > 8). Very good agreement with theory far from the front indicated that the accuracy of the setup was good (reliable calibration procedure and image processing methods). Experiments on granular suspensions revealed a variety of behaviors depending on the particle concentration, the slope and the mass released. At solid fractions up to 45%, suspensions behaved as homogeneous viscous fluids. For the duration of the experiment, it was not possible to detect any inhomogeneity due to migration or sedimentation. In the range of shear rate tested and with the precision allowed by the setup no shear thickening or shear thinning was observed since velocity profiles remained perfectly Newtonian. For slightly more concentrated suspensions (up to 55%), we found that the flow dynamics at the bulk scale could still be described using a viscous theory. However, at the local scale, migration gave rise to concentration inhomogeneities producing a blunted velocity profile. The shape of the blunted profile was well described by the Mills and Snabre migration model coupled to a Krieger-Dougherty effective viscosity. However, magnitudes of the velocities were largely overestimated, most probably because we fitted the effective viscosity at higher shear rates. Above 55%, small released masses with high solid fractions stopped after a finite time and separation between fluid and solid phases occurred. The solid frame stayed at rest while the fluid seeped through the granular media eroding the front. For larger released masses, we observed successions of different regimes: After an inertial regime and a pseudo-viscous regime, the flow slowed down, corresponding to a new regime in which the shearing was localized in a thin layer at bottom and there was no shearing of the front. At the same time, we observed that the free surface deformed and became wavy. Fractures developed on the top of the flow and, if they grew sufficiently, modified the local velocity field substantially. Finally, at longer time (≥ 4 min) an intermittent motion (stick-slip) was observed with phases during which the suspension was flowing in a quasi-steady regime and phases during which the suspension was at a halt.

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