A particle-level rigid fiber model is used to study flocculation in an asymmetric planar diffuser with a turbulent Newtonian fluid flow, resembling one stage in dry-forming process of pulp mats. The fibers are modeled as chains of rigid cylindrical segments. The equations of motion incorporate hydrodynamic forces and torques from the interaction with the fluid, and the fiber inertia is taken into account. The flow is governed by the Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations with the standard kω turbulence model. A one-way coupling between the fibers and the flow is considered. A stochastic model is employed for the flow fluctuations to capture the fiber dispersion. The fibers are assumed to interact through short-range attractive forces, causing them to interlock as the fiber-fiber contacts occur during the flow. It is found that the formation of fiber flocs is driven by both the turbulence-induced dispersion and the gradient of the averaged flow field.

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