Partially stratified flows like flows of sand-water slurries exhibit non-uniform distribution of solids (expressed as a vertical profile of local volumetric concentration) in a pipe cross section. The solids distribution in such flows is sensitive to pipe inclination. The more stratified the flow is the more sensitive its concentration profile is to the pipe slope. In general, the distribution tends to become more uniform (less stratified) if the inclination angle increases from zero (horizontal pipe) to positive values (ascending pipe) up to 90 degree (vertical pipe). In a pipe inclined to negative angles (descending pipe) the development is different. The flow tends to stratify more if it changes from horizontal flow to descending flow down to the angle of about −35 degree. If the angle further decreases towards −90 degree, then the flow becomes less stratified reaching uniform distribution at the vertical position.

This also means that the same flow exhibits a very different degree of stratification in ascending and descending pipes inclined to the same (mild) slope say between ±10 and ±40 degree. The rather complex development of the solids distribution with the variation of the inclination of pipe is insufficiently documented experimentally and described theoretically in predictive models for a concentration profile in partially stratified flow.

In order to extend the existing limited data set with experimental data for partially stratified flow of medium sand slurry, we have carried out a laboratory experiment with the slurry of narrow graded fraction of sand with the mean grain size of 0.55 mm in our test loop with an invert U-tube inclinable to arbitrary angle between 0 and 90 degree. A pipe of the loop has an internal diameter of 100 mm. Both legs of the U-tube have a measuring section over which differential pressures are measured. Radiometric devices mounted to both measuring sections sense concentration profiles across a pipe cross section. Furthermore, the discharge of slurry is measured in the test loop.

In the paper, experimental results are presented for various inclination angles with a small step between 0 and ±45 degree and a development in the shape of the concentration profiles with the changing inclination angle is analyzed. For the analysis, it is critical to distinguish between suspended load and contact load in the flow as the two loads tend to react differently to the flow inclination. The measured concentration profiles and pressure drops are compared with predictions by the layered model adapted for taking the flow inclination into account.

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