Friction due to the presence of solid particles suspended in a flow is a result of processes in a relatively thin layer near the pipe wall. Pipe-wall friction generated by particles in permanent contact with pipe wall is relatively well understood. However, very little is known about the friction deriving from sporadic contact (collisions) of particles with the wall. This friction is a major contributor to the frictional pressure drop in many slurry pipeline applications. The paper describes results of extensive laboratory tests of vertical flows of different sand fractions (fine, medium and coarse sands) carried out in the Laboratory of Dredging Engineering of the Delft University. In order to identify mechanisms that govern the solid-particle friction at the pipe wall the paper analyses friction conditions in observed vertical flows. The effects of particle-particle interactions and particle-liquid interactions on the pipe-wall friction are evaluated. One of the interesting phenomena observed in the laboratory was that frictional pressure drops in highly-concentrated flows at high velocities are lower for slurries of medium sand and coarse sand than for slurries of fine sand. The observed trend is believed to be associated with the liquid–lift force acting on solid particles traveling near a pipe wall. This off-wall force seems to be the most effective for medium to coarse particles traveling in highly concentrated mixture in the near-wall region. Thus pressure drops due to the presence of solids in non-stratified flows seem to be primarily produced by the combined effect of the Bagnold collisional force (force that colliding particles exert against the pipe wall) and liquid lift force acting on solid particles in the near-wall zone of the slurry flow.

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