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J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech.

, 72 (1997) 55 – 71

Creeping motion of a sphere in tubes filled with


Herschel–Bulkley fluids
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis *
Department of Chemical Engineering, Uni6ersity of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada
Received 1 November 1996; received in revised form 7 March 1997

Abstract

Previous numerical simulations for the flow of Bingham plastics past a sphere contained in cylindrical tubes of
different diameter ratios are extended to Herschel – Bulkley fluids with the purpose of comparing them with
experiments. The emphasis is on determining the extent and shape of yielded/unyielded regions along with the drag
coefficient as a function of the pertinent dimensionless groups. Good overall agreement is obtained between the
numerical results and the experimental studies. © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.

Keywords: Yield stress; Herschel-Bulkley fluid; Yielded/unyielded regions; Drag; Viscoplasticity

1. Introduction

A recent study [1] on Bingham plastics in flows around a sphere falling in tubes of different
diameter ratios showed the extent and shape of yielded/unyielded regions and the calculation of
the Stokes drag coefficient as a function of the Bingham number. The constitutive equation used
was the continuous viscoplastic equation proposed by Papanastasiou [2], which reduces the
difficulty of solving for the location of the unyielded surface, and which holds for all
deformation rates. The numerical simulations showed that all previous postulates [3,4] and
numerical solutions [5] about the shape of the yielded/unyielded regions are correct under the
right physical conditions, i.e., a combination of geometry and Bingham number.
The experimental work by Atapattu et al. [6,7] deals extensively with creeping sphere motion
in Herschel – Bulkley fluids and provides new information on wall effects, drag behaviour and
the size of the yielded/unyielded regions. Here, the drag coefficient is also represented as a
function of a dynamic parameter, which includes the Bingham and Reynolds numbers. The

* Corresponding author. Fax: +1 613 5625172.

0377-0257/97/$17.00 © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


PII S 0 3 7 7 - 0 2 5 7 ( 9 7 ) 0 0 0 2 4 - 4
56 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

yielded/unyielded regions for different diameter ratios postulated by Atapattu et al. [6] are
shown in Fig. 1.
It is the purpose of the present work to reexamine through numerical simulation these flows
and to compare the present numerical results with the experimental studies of Atapattu et al. [6].
The numerical simulations are extended over a wide range of Bingham and Reynolds numbers,
similarly focusing on wall effects, drag behaviour, and the extent and shape of the yielded/un-
yielded regions.

2. Mathematical modeling

The problem at hand, i.e. a sphere of radius R falling with a terminal velocity V in a tube of
radius Rc filled with a viscoplastic fluid, has been described in [1] and shown here in Fig. 2. The
flow phenomena postulated by previous workers for viscoplastic flows around spheres include
polar caps appearing on the top and bottom of the sphere due to the stagnation points in the
flow as predicted by Beris et al. [5]. Solid regions, or islands, similar to those proposed by Ansley
and Smith [3], may also appear on both sides of the sphere as will be shown by the present
numerical simulations.

Fig. 1. Schematic representation of the shape of the yielded/unyielded regions surrounding a sphere in creeping
motion through a Herschel–Bulkley fluid as given by Atapattu et al. [6]: (a) RC/R = 3.021, Bn*= 2.526; (b)
RC/R5 7.604, Bn*=2.526; (c) RC/R=9.635, Bn*=3.140.
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71 57

Fig. 2. Schematic representation of the system of a sphere falling in a tube filled with a viscoplastic medium. The
shaded regions are unyielded and so are the small black regions forming polar caps around the stagnation points on
the sphere and the two islands on each side of the sphere.

The flow is governed by the usual conservation equations of mass and momentum for an
incompressible fluid under isothermal conditions. The constitutive equation that relates the
stress to the deformation is the Herschel–Bulkley equation. In simple shear flow, the Herschel–
Bulkley equation takes the form (see Fig. 3)
t =ty + Kg; n for t \ ty (1a)
g; = 0 for t 5 ty (1b)
where t is the shear stress, g; is the shear rate, ty is the yield stress, K is the consistency index
and n is the power-law index. Note that when the shear stress t falls below ty, a solid structure
is formed (unyielded). Also when the power-law index is unity and the consistency index is
equivalent to the plastic viscosity, the Herschel–Bulkley model reduces to the Bingham model.
Applying Papanastasiou’s [2] modification to the Herschel–Bulkley model gives
58 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

t = ty[1 − e − mg; ]+ Kg; n (2)


where m is the stress growth exponent with units of time (s). Fig. 3 shows that for values of
m \ 1000 s, this modified equation mimics the ideal Herschel–Bulkley model. In addition, Eq.
(2) approximates well the ideal Herschel-Bulkley fluid in the limiting cases of g; “ and of g; “0
when the apparent viscosity h= t/g; “ Kg; n − 1 when h “Kg; n − 1 +mty. The exponential modifica-
tion was previously applied to Herschel–Bulkley fluids and used by Mitsoulis et al. [8] to study
the non-isothermal flow through extrusion dies and to determine the shape and extent of
yielded/unyielded regions, extrudate swell, and the development of the temperature field. The
full tensorial form of Eq. (2) is given in [8] and follows readily from the Bingham modification
(see [1]).

3. Dimensionless parameters

The relative importance of inertia forces is assessed by the generalized Reynolds number Re*,
defined for power-law fluids as [9]
V 2 − nd nr
Re*= (3)
K
where d is the diameter of the sphere, r is the density of the fluid, and V is the terminal velocity
of the sphere. For the numerical simulations performed in the present work, Re* 1 for most
cases, and the creeping flow approximation is valid.
For materials with a yield stress obeying the Herschel–Bulkley model, a generalized Bingham
number Bn* is defined as

Fig. 3. Shear stress vs. shear rate according to the modified Herschel – Bulkley constitutive Eqs. (1a) and (1b) for
several values of the stress growth exponent m for fluid S-10 (a Carbopol solution with K = 23.89 Pa×sn, ty = 46.47
Pa, n= 0.5).
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71 59

ty
Bn* = , (4)
K(V/d)n
where an apparent shear rate can be defined as g; =V/d.
A corresponding equation for the Stokes drag coefficient can be written for Herschel–Bulkley
fluids following equivalent definitions for Re* for power-law fluids [9]:
F
C*s = . (5)
6pKV nR 2 − n21 − nX(n)
Here, F is the external force acting on the sphere due to gravity, and X(n) is the drag correction
factor which is a function of the power-law index, n. In the present work, the values for X(n)
were taken from experimental measurements done by Gu and Tanner [9]. Ansley and Smith [3]
also incorporate a general definition of the drag coefficient which does not neglect inertial effects
and is given as
4 (rS − r) gd 24C*SX(n)
CD = = (6)
3 rV 2 Re 
where rS is the sphere density and g is the acceleration due to gravity.
A dimensionless yield stress is then defined in terms of the modified Bingham number and
drag coefficient as
Bn*
t*y = (7)
6C*S X(n)
Chhabra and Uhlherr [10] also define the gravity-yield number given by
ty Bn* t*y
YG = = = (8)
2gR(rs − r) 18C*S X(n) 3
In all cases, the Newtonian fluid corresponds to Bn*=0, t *=0,
y and YG =0.
Ansley and Smith [3] reduced the number of dimensionless groups for Bingham plastics by
defining a dynamic parameter, Q, which is a function of the Reynolds and Bingham numbers.
The equivalent generalized dynamic parameter Q* for Herschel–Bulkley fluids is given by
Atapattu et al. [6] as
Re*
Q = (9)
1 + kBn*
where k is postulated to be equal to 7p/24 (=0.9163) for Bingham plastics. Ansley and Smith
[3] showed that the drag coefficient from Eq. (6) was a function of the dynamic parameter.

4. Method of solution

The continuous viscoplastic constitutive equation for Herschel–Bulkley fluids is solved


together with the conservation equations of mass and momentum, and appropriate boundary
conditions by the Finite Element Method (FEM) as explained in the previous papers [1,8]. All
lengths are scaled with R, all velocities with V, and all pressures and stresses with KV n/R n.
60 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

Table 1
Properties of the S-10, S-11 and S-12 test fluids (Carbopol solutions) used in the experimental studies by Atapattu
et al. [6] and in the numerical simulations

Fluid K (Pa · sn) ty (Pa) n (−) r (kg−1 m3) X(n) (−)

S-10 23.89 46.47 0.50 1000 1.42


S-11 43.15 38.15 0.59 1000 1.39
S-12 9.14 5.32 0.48 1000 1.43

X(n) is the drag correction factor for power-law fluids [9]

Simulations are carried out for a wide range of Bingham numbers (0 5Bn*B ) by
decreasing the value of the velocity V, while the radius R, consistency index K, the yield stress
ty, and the power-law index n are held constant, representing the material properties of each
viscoplastic fluid. Three of the twelve fluids considered by Atapattu et al. [6] are simulated in this
study, namely the fluids designated as S-10, S-11, and S-12 (aqueous solutions of different grades
of Carbopol 940 and 941 resins supplied by Goodrich, USA). The values of the parameters in
the Herschel – Bulkley model for these fluids are given in Table 1, together with the drag
correction factor X(n) determined by Gu and Tanner [9] for power-law fluids.
It was found during the numerical simulations that the results were very dependent on the
values of the stress growth exponent, m, at large Bingham numbers, but were less affected for
very high values of m. The values of the stress growth exponent m used in this study vary for
each fluid and Bingham number so as to maintain the ratio of viscosities at low and high shear
rates sufficiently large. The method for calculating the correct value of m to use for a
corresponding Bingham number is by implementing the criterion that the ratio of viscosities at
g; “ 0 and g; “ , given by the expression mg; (Bn*), be equal to 1000. By maintaining the value
of m sufficiently large (103 B mB 106), the results become independent of m, and better results
for the drag coefficient and the extent of the yielded/unyielded regions are achieved. The
criterion of keeping the ratio of viscosities large is equivalent to that used by Tsamopoulos et al.
[11] and similar to that used by O’Donovan and Tanner [12], and Beverly and Tanner [13] in
their biviscosity model for viscoplastic materials.
The values of the diameter ratios, RC/R, used in the simulations are those ratios used in the
experimental work undertaken by Atapattu et al. [6] (i.e., RC/R=3.021, 4.531, 5.469, 7.604 and
9.635). The flow length L/R ratio was taken to be about the same as the RC/R ratio for all cases,
except for the 3.021:1 and 4.531:1 ratios, where L/R was set equal to 6. The corresponding L/R
values for the other cases are 6,8 and 10 for the 5.469:1, 7.604:1 and 9.635:1 diameter ratios,
respectively. The finite element meshes are similar in grid density to the ones used in the
previous work by Blackery and Mitsoulis [1], ranging from 470–637 quadrilateral Lagrangian
elements, 2000 –2700 nodes, and 4200–5800 degrees of freedom for the velocities–pressures.
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71 61

5. Results and discussion

5.1. Newtonian results

We first applied our numerical scheme to the calculation of the creeping flow of a Newtonian
fluid past a sphere to evaluate the meshes constructed for the given diameter ratios. Bohlin’s
approximation [1] was used to compare the values of the drag coefficient for a Newtonian fluid,
and the results for the different RC/R ratios are given in Table 2. The differences between the
calculated values and those predicted by Bohlin’s approximation are always below 0.2%.

5.2. Viscoplastic results— yielded/unyielded regions

Numerical results on the extent and shape of the yielded/unyielded (shaded) regions with the
Herschel – Bulkley model have been produced for all three fluids and five diameter ratios (9.635,
7.604:1, 5.469:1, 4.531:1, 3.021:1). In the interest of brevity, we present here only the results for
fluid S-10 and for the lowest and highest diameter ratios, in Figs. 4 and 5, respectively. All of
the figures show the progressive growth of the unyielded region as Bn* and t *y increase, up to
the point where the region becomes completely plastic. It can also be seen that as Bn* increases,
the solid regions on each side of the sphere (islands) increase in size as do the solid regions
located around the front and rear stagnation points (polar caps).
For the 3.021:1 case (Fig. 4), the fluid region extends to the wall of the tube for low Bingham
numbers. The similarity of the results for Bn*=0.108 with the schematic representation of Fig.
1(a) is remarkable. Solid regions around the front and rear stagnation points (caps) as well as
on each side of the sphere (islands) first appear in these figures around Bn*=27.36. At an
intermediate Bingham number (i.e., Bn*=197.5), the fluid zone disappears near the wall and
develops around the sphere. As the Bingham number continues to increase, the fluid zone
diminishes, while the solid island regions on each side of the sphere grow and at Bn*=368.4
they have already reached the outer plastic boundary. The diminishing of the fluid region
continues as the Bingham number increases, and the solid polar caps grow and reach the plastic
boundary around Bn* = 1360. Also note the isolated fluid regions at the front and the rear of
the sphere for Bn*= 1360. For the higher Bingham numbers (i.e., Bn*=1768) all that remains
are crescent-shaped fluid regions on each side of the sphere until they too disappear, and a
completely plastic medium is present around the sphere.

Table 2
Comparison of drag coefficient results with Bohlin’s approximation [1] for Newtonian fluids

RC/R CS,N (FEM) CS,N (Bohlin’s Appr’n) Per cent difference

9.635 1.2772 1.2757 0.12


7.604 1.3758 1.3737 0.15
5.469 1.5955 1.5930 0.16
4.531 1.7937 1.7942 0.03
3.021 2.6718 2.6733 0.05
62 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

Fig. 4. Progressive growth of the unyielded zone (shaded) for the flow of Herschel – Bulkley fluid S-10 (see Table 1)
around a sphere contained in a tube with a 3.021:1 diameter ratio.

For the 9.635:1 case (Fig. 5, note the change of window size (4×4) in the right-hand side
column showing more details for the higher Bn* values), the fluid region does not extend to the
wall of the tube for any Bingham number shown. The similarity of the results for Bn* =3.140
with the schematic representation of Fig. 1(c) is remarkable. The solid polar caps and solid
islands first appear around Bn*= 59.59. The solid islands on each side of the sphere grow and
meet the outer plastic regions around Bn*=723.1. The solid polar caps grow as the Bingham
number increases and join with the plastic region around Bn*= 2990. Crescent-shaped fluid
regions form for Bn*= 3128, and as the Bingham number increases, the medium around the
sphere is completely plastic.
The results for the intermediate diameter ratios follow similar patterns as described above and
are not repeated here. The same is true for the other two fluids S-11 and S-12.
A comparison between the present simulation results and the experimental results by Atapattu
et al. [6] for the shape and extent of the yielded/unyielded regions is now in order. In their effort
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71 63

to provide comparisons with simulations for a Bingham plastic falling in an infinite medium,
Atapattu et al. [6] have used not a generalized Bn*, but a Bingham number (their Bi ) based on
an equivalent plastic viscosity m evaluated at an apparent shear rate of V/d. With the proper
modifications to correspond to Bn*, Fig. 6 shows a comparison between our numerical results
and the experiments by Atapattu et al. [6] for the corresponding fluids (fluid S-11 for the highest

Fig. 5. Progressive growth of the unyielded zone (shaded) for the flow of Herschel – Bulkley fluid S-10 (see Table 1)
around a sphere contained in a tube with a 9.635:1 diameter ratio.
64 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

Fig. 6.

diameter ratio of 9.635 and fluid S-10 for the other ratios). As can be seen, the results in the
outer yield surface agree well for the higher diameter ratios, especially along the axial symmetry
line (z/R). However, the agreement of results for RC/R=3.021 is poor. It is interesting to note
that the yielded/unyielded region for RC/R =3.021 postulated by Atapattu et al. [6] at a
Bingham number of 2.526 is very similar to that of the present results at a Bingham number of
0.108 (see Fig. 4). The disagreement between results is rather puzzling for the lowest RC/R ratio.
To that effect, the present results for Bn* =0.108 are shown vs. the result by Atapattu et al. [6]
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71 65

for Bn* =2.526, where the agreement is good. This suggests that perhaps a clerical error in the
literature may be attributed to the discrepancy of results for this particular geometry.
The use of a continuous viscoplastic model, such as the one used here, to determine the exact
shape of yielded/unyielded regions can be criticized, since the model predicts deformation (albeit
extremely small) for all values of the exponent m. A careful examination of the velocities and
velocity gradients in disputed regions, such as the islands and the polar caps, showed that there
the velocity gradients are extremely small (but not identically zero), and these regions are really
apparently unyielded regions (AUR), as opposed to truly yielded regions that do exist whenever
a plug velocity profile occurs. However, in the present simulations we do not differentiate
between the two, and the separating line has been drawn as the contour of the magnitude of the
extra stress tensor having a value equal to the yield stress, as in our previous publications [1,8].

Fig. 6. Comparison of the present results (left) with the results by Atapattu et al. [6] (right), regarding the extent and
shape of the yielded/unyielded regions for flow of a Herschel – Bulkley fluid around a sphere. All results are for fluid
S-10 except the first (RC/R=9.635), which is for fluid S-11.
66 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

Fig. 7. Comparison of the present results (solid lines) with the results by Atapattu et al. [6] (symbols), regarding the
axial velocities, 6z, along the equatorial line for different diameter ratios (i.e., RC/R = 3.021, 4.531, 5.469 and 7.604).
All results are for fluid S-10 and correspond to the conditions of Fig. 6.

5.3. Viscoplastic results— 6elocity profiles

The results for the dimensionless axial velocities, 6z /V, along the equatorial line for different
diameter ratios are shown in Fig. 7 for fluid S-10 and for the same conditions given in Fig. 6.
Included in this figure are the experimental results of the velocity profiles by Atapattu et al. [6]
for the same fluid. The present results, represented by the solid lines, agree well with those by
Atapattu et al. [6] for the larger diameter ratios. However, the agreement of results for the
3.021:1 diameter ratio is poor regarding the location of the maximum velocity (i.e., r/RC =1.7
and r/RC = 2.1 for the present results and the Atapattu et al. [6] results, respectively). Note that
the same was true for the yielded/unyielded regions for this case as discussed above (see Fig. 6).
For each diameter ratio, the rise in the dimensionless axial velocities with radial distance
precedes those of Atapattu et al. [6], however, the maxima of the dimensionless axial velocities
agree well with the experimental results. Points to notice are the changing slope of the velocity
profile before and after the maxima, suggesting the absence of islands for these conditions,
which was also borne out by the numerical simulations. However, the leveling-off of the velocity
profile after some distance suggests no velocity changes (plug profile) corresponding to practi-
cally unyielded regions, which was also found in the numerical simulations (see Fig. 6).

5.4. Viscoplastic results— drag coefficient

The dependence of the drag coefficient (Eq. (6)) with respect to the generalized dynamic
parameter is shown in Fig. 8, where the solid line represents the expression CD =24X(n)/Q*.
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71 67

Also included in this figure are the experimental results by Atapattu et al. [6] shown as hollow
circular symbols, and the present results shown as solid square symbols. The present results
incorporate the values of X(n) given experimentally by Gu and Tanner [9] (see Eq. (16)),
whereas the results for the drag coefficient extend over 15 orders of magnitude in the dynamic
parameter (10 − 16 5 Q*5 0.89), which is roughly twice the range of the results from Atapattu et
al. [6], which extend over seven orders of magnitude (10 − 8 5Q*50.3).
A non-linear regression analysis was performed on the data with respect to the drag
coefficient as a function of the dynamic parameter in the form of
(1+ kBn*)
CD = 24X(n) . (10)
Re*
This form is used to evaluate the value of k, for which Ansley and Smith [3] postulated a value
of 7p/24 ( =0.9163). The physical significance of k relates to the ratio of the drag term involving
yield stresses to the drag term involving viscous stresses [3]. The values of k found for each
diameter ratio for the S-10 Herschel–Bulkley fluid are given in Table 3 in the following ranges
of conditions: 1.43 × 10 − 12 5 Re*5 0.00175; 0.7475Bn*5952.4. It can be seen from Table 3
that the values of k for each diameter ratio are close to the one postulated by Ansley and Smith
[3].

5.5. Viscoplastic results— Stokes drag coefficient

The numerical values of the Stokes drag coefficient (Eq. (5)) with corresponding values of the
generalized Bingham and Reynolds numbers are shown in Table 4 for the case of 3.021:1

Fig. 8. Drag coefficient (defined by Eq. (6)) vs. the dynamic parameter for Herschel – Bulkley fluids flowing around
a sphere contained in a tube for different diameter ratios. The solid line represents CD = 24X(n)/Q* (symbols:
,
present results; , results by Atapattu [6]).
68 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

Table 3
Values of k in the expression of the dynamic parameter defined by Eq. (9) obtained from the regression analysis for
the S-10 Herschel–Bulkley fluid Eq. (10)

RC/R k (fluid S-10)

3.021 0.892
4.531 0.884
5.469 0.857
7.604 0.821
9.635 0.877

The value of k=7p/24= 0.9163 postulated by Ansley and Smith [3]

diameter ratio and the S-10 Herschel–Bulkley fluid. It is to be noted that Bn* and C *S are of the
same order of magnitude, while Re* decreases very rapidly from the value of about 1 for the
lowest Bn* to many orders of magnitude, thus justifying the creeping flow approximation.
The dependence of the Stokes drag coefficient (Eq. (7)) on the dimensionless yield stress (t *)y
is shown in Fig. 9 for different diameter ratios for the S-10 fluid simulations. Similar results are
obtained for the other two fluids. It is noted that at low yield stress values, the curve for the
3.021:1 diameter ratio is higher than the other curves, owing to the fact that the drag coefficient
for this geometry even for the Newtonian case is much higher than that of the other diameter
ratios. The results of Beris et al. [5] for the infinite case showed that the curve asymptotically
approaches a line of constant dimensionless yield stress value equal to 0.143, where the sphere

Table 4
Values of the Stokes drag coefficient (C *),
S generalized Bingham number (Bn*), and generalized Reynolds number
(Re*) for the 3.021:1 diameter ratio for the S-10 Herschel – Bulkley fluid

Bn* Re* C *S

0.108 0.9782 1.429


0.747 2.956×10−3 2.101
2.299 1.014×10−4 3.600
3.140 3.980×10−5 4.383
5.530 7.287×10−6 7.547
8.047 2.365×10−6 8.783
14.91 3.718×10−7 14.77
27.36 6.017×10−8 25.40
59.59 5.824×10−9 52.52
197.5 1.600×10−10 167.0
340.7 3.116×10−11 282.6
544.6 7.629×10−12 434.4
748.5 2.939×10−12 568.7
952.4 1.426×10−12 690.2
1156 7.971×10−13 801.2
1360 4.897×10−13 904.2
1564 3.220×10−13 1001
1768 2.230×10−13 1091
M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71 69

Fig. 9. Stokes drag coefficient vs. dimensionless yield stress t *y for the S-10 Herschel – Bulkley fluid flowing around a
sphere contained in a tube for different diameter ratios.

becomes motionless. Atapattu et al. [6] also discovered a critical dimensionless yield stress value
where the sphere becomes motionless at t *:0.183.y In reality, the latter number is an
experimental estimate of ‘no motion’, i.e. motion too slow to observe in a reasonable time of a
few minutes or hours.
It can be argued that the present results up to t *=0.14
y conform with the previous numerical
results by Beris et al. [5] and Blackery and Mitsoulis [1], where the curves appear to be
asymptotic about t *=y 0.143. However, once the curves reach the asymptote line, they bend
dramatically in favour of the yield stress, and they tend to level off towards the value proposed
by Atapattu et al. [6], near 0.183. This corresponds to a tendency towards total encapsulation
of the sphere by the unyielded region and cessation of motion. It appears that the sudden bend
in the curves is due to the two-viscosity model inherent even in the Papanastasiou modification
as the Bn* becomes very large. The regime t *B0.143
y represents ‘flow’ governed by the lower
viscosity, while the regime t *\
y 0.143 represents ‘creep’ governed by the higher viscosity. This
creep should continue indefinitely, and an accurate value of the critical dimensionless yield stress
where the sphere becomes absolutely motionless is difficult to determine, since there is no
criterion for the motion of the sphere based on the shape of the yielded/unyielded regions.
The present results differ from those by Beris et al. [5] and Blackery and Mitsoulis [1], since
there is a difference in how the simulations were carried out. In the previous simulations, the
Bingham number was increased by increasing the yield stress value but maintaining the velocity
constant. In the present simulations, the yield stress of the test fluid was used, and the Bingham
number was increased by decreasing the velocity. This also gives an insight into why Beris et al.
[5] and Blackery and Mitsoulis [1] were not able to attain the limit of cessation of sphere motion,
since the boundary condition of having a constant velocity did not allow the sphere to become
70 M. Beaulne, E. Mitsoulis / J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 72 (1997) 55–71

motionless, within the context of the simulations. Physically, Beris et al. [5] and Blackery and
Mitsoulis [1] have solved for pulling a sphere through viscoplastic materials, whereas in the
present work, the sphere speed is reduced so that at the limit, it ceases to move, and it is totally
surrounded by unyielded material. This may be closer to the experimental situation encountered
with real fluids, such as the Carbopol solutions, where the existence of a true yield stress below
which there is absolutely no deformation, may be disputed.

6. Conclusions

Finite element simulations have been undertaken for creeping flows of Herschel–Bulkley
fluids past a sphere falling in cylindrical tubes. The ideal Herschel–Bulkley equation has been
modified as proposed by Papanastasiou [2] with an exponential growth term to make it valid in
both yielded and unyielded regions, thus eliminating the need for tracking the location of the
yield surfaces. The present results conform with the previous study by Atapattu et al. [6]
regarding the dependence of the drag coefficient on the dynamic parameter proposed by Ansley
and Smith [3]. The extent and shape of the yielded/unyielded regions has been determined using
the criterion of the magnitude of the extra stress tensor exceeding the yield stress.
New results include the determination of the drag coefficient, extending over a 15 orders-of-
magnitude variation in the dynamic parameter and a four orders-of-magnitude variation in the
Bingham number. The Stokes drag coefficient was also determined as a function of a dimension-
less yield stress t *,
y up to the limit where the sphere appears to become motionless. The
transitional shapes of the yielded/unyielded regions from a fluid state to a completely plastic state
have also been demonstrated. Furthermore, the inconsistency of results relating to the extent
and shape of the yielded/unyielded regions postulated by different researchers can now be
explained, i.e., all postulates are correct under the right physical conditions, i.e., a combination
of geometry and Bingham number.

Acknowledgements

Financial assistance from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
(NSERC) and the Ontario Center for Materials Research (OCMR) is gratefully acknowledged.

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