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Microstructure simulation of early paper forming using immersed boundary methods

: Mark, A.; Svenning, E.; Rundqvist, R.; Edelvik, F.; Glatt, E.; Rief, S.; Wiegmann, A.; Fredlund, M.; Lai, R.; Martinsson, L.; Nyman, U.

Tappi journal 10 (2011), No.11, pp.23-30
ISSN: 0734-1415
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ITWM ()

Paper forming is the first step in the paper machine where a fiber suspension leaves the headbox and flows through a forming fabric. Complex physical phenomena occur as the paper forms, during which fibers, fillers, fines, and chemicals added to the suspension interact. Understanding this process is important for the development of improved paper products because the configuration of the fibers during this step greatly influences the final paper quality. Because the effective paper properties depend on the microstructure of the fiber web, a continuum model is inadequate to explain the process and the properties of each fiber need to be accounted for in simulations. This study describes a new framework for microstructure simulation of early paper forming. The simulation framework includes a Navier-Stokes solver and immersed boundary methods to resolve the flow around the fibers. The fibers were modeled with a finite element discretization of the Euler-Bernoulli beam equation in a co-rotational formulation. The contact model is based on a penalty method and includes friction and elastic and inelastic collisions. We validated the fiber model and the contact model against demanding test cases from the literature, with excellent results. The fluid-structure interaction in the model was examined by simulating an elastic beam oscillating in a cross flow. We also simulated early paper formation to demonstrate the potential of the proposed framework.