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Numerical simulations of particle size distributions: Comparison with analytical solutions and kaolinite flocculation experiments

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

© 2016 Elsevier B.V. The population balance equation has been used to describe the evolution of particle populations caused by aggregation and breakup processes for several decades. Only recently has it been used to efficiently and directly predict the temporal variation of particle size distribution (PSD) for cohesive sediments by using the quadrature method of moments (QMOM). In this study, an extension of that effort carries out additional validations that compare with analytical solutions for pure coagulation systems, pure breakup systems, and combined coagulation and breakup systems. Besides, a laboratory experiment is conducted in a five liter mixing chamber to provide steady state PSD of suspended kaolinite with a chamber-averaged kaolinite concentration 0.52 g/L and shear rate 45 s-1. The model results match reasonably well with both of those from analytical solutions and kaolinite flocculation experiment results. Sensitivities regarding the selecting of different model input parameters (such as fractal dimensions, primary particle sizes, aggregation and breakage fitting parameters, and fragmentation distribution functions) are also checked. The results further confirm the capability of QMOM to predict PSD using its quadrature nodes and the corresponding weights.
Journal: Marine Geology
ISSN: 0025-3227
Volume: 379
Pages: 84 - 99
Number of pages: 16
Publication year:2016
Keywords:Geosciences & technology, Hydrology/oceanography