Dynamics of progressive pore clogging by colloidal aggregates

N Delouche, A.B. Schofield, H. Tabuteau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The flow of a suspension through a bottleneck often leads to its obstruction. Such a continuous flow to clogging transition has been well characterized when the constriction width to particle size ratio, W/D, is smaller than 3–4. In such cases, the constriction is either blocked by a single particle that is larger than the constriction width (W/D < 1), or there is an arch formed by several particles that try to enter it together (2 < W/D < 4). For larger W/D ratios, 4 < W/D < 10, the blockage of the constriction is presumed to be due to the successive accumulations of particles. Such a clogging mechanism may also apply to wider pores. The dynamics of this progressive obstruction remains largely unexplored since it is difficult to see through the forming clog and we still do not know how particles accumulate inside the constriction. In this paper, we use particle tracking and image analysis to study the clogging of a constriction/pore by stable colloidal particles. These techniques allow us to determine the shape and the size of all the objects, be they single particles or aggregates, captured inside the pore. We show that even with the rather monodisperse colloidal suspension we used individual particles cannot clog a pore alone. These individual particles can only partially cover the pore surface whilst it is the very small fraction of aggregates present in the suspension that can pile up and clog the pore. We analyzed the dynamics of aggregate motion up to the point of capture within the pore, which helps us to elucidate why the probability of aggregate capture inside the pore is high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9899-9907
Number of pages9
JournalSoft Matter
Volume16
Issue number43
Early online date30 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2020

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