In the course of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) tank waste retrieval, immobilization, and disposal activities, high-level waste transfer lines have the potential to become plugged. In response to DOE’s needs, Florida International University’s Hemispheric Center for Environmental Technology (FIU-HCET) is studying the mechanism and behavior of pipeline plugging to determine the pipeline operating conditions for safe slurry transport.

Transport behavior of multi-species slurry has been studied in a 1-in O.D. pipeline flow loop. The slurry was a five-species mixture of Fe2O3, Al2O3, MnO2, Ni2O3, and SiO2, which simulated actual waste at the Savannah River DOE site. The relationship between the pressure drop in the straight horizontal sections of the flow loop and the mean slurry flow velocity was determined for two solids volume concentrations of 5.2 and 7.8%. Critical deposition velocity was measured from visual observations. An existing empirical model that predicts the pressure gradient for a single-species slurry flow in a horizontal pipeline was used to describe the pressure drop data.

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