Slurry Viscosity Experiment (SVE)

University of Houston
Department of Chemical Engineering

4800 Calhoun Dr.
Houston, TX 77204

fax: 713-743-4323

Flight Team:

Philip Wylie (Contact Person) Graduate Student (713) 743-4306

Josh Cooper Graduate Student (713) 743-4306

Faculty Advisor:

Dr. Kishore K. Mohanty Associate Professor (713) 743-4331


Many processes on earth and in space involve slurries, e.g., coal processing, food and pharmaceutical processing, blood flow and solid rocket fuel transportation. Viscosity of the slurry is a key parameter in the design of many slurry processes. Homogeneous slurry viscosity can be evaluated with conventional equipment, i.e., rheometers or viscometers. However, heterogeneous slurry viscosity is more expensive to characterize on earth due to gravitation segregation, requiring pilot plant operations and nonintrusive measuring equipment. We would like to take advantage of the reduced gravity environment on board the KC-135 aircraft to investigate heterogeneous slurry viscosity. In a microgravity environment, heterogeneous slurries will be more uniform in composition and may be modeled as homogeneous slurries, allowing application of homogeneous laminar flow equations. By determining the heterogeneous slurry viscosities, the cost and time for pilot plant studies may be reduced.

Our proposal involves the design and construction of a slurry viscosity experiment (SVE). A nontoxic, nonflammable and noncorrosive slurry would be held in a PlexiglasTM vessel (PV). Upon entering the reduced gravity environment, the slurry would be made to flow from the PV through a test section. The amount of slurry released will be recorded as a function of time and residual gravity. The slurry viscosity can be calculated from this data.

PlexiglasTM construction and clear plastic tubing will allow videotaping of the experiment. From the videotape the flow regime may be determined. The videotape will also provide a backup data acquisition system and a valuable educational tool for grades K-12. In addition to the videotape, our results can be conveyed to fellow graduate students, faculty and industrial researchers through publication, conferences and our annual departmental symposium. A world wide web page would provide an excellent media for disseminating results to a much wider audience.


Wednesday, 31-Dec-1969 18:00:00 CST