Forces on bars in high-consistency mill-scale refiners

dc.contributor.authorOlender, Dustin James
dc.contributor.supervisorWild, Peter of Mechanical Engineeringen_US of Philosophy Ph.D.en_US
dc.description.abstractRefiners are used in the pulp and paper industry to separate wood chips into individual fibres and to develop the morphology of fibres to be suitable for the type and grade of paper to be produced. Within a refiner are discs, at least one of which rotates at high speed and all of which are lined with radial patterns of bars on their opposing surfaces. As the chips and fibres are accelerated through the refiner, compressive and shear forces are applied to them by the bars as the opposed discs cross each other. Experiments have shown that the contact mechanics of bar-crossings are a significant factor in the development of fibre properties. To investigate the contact mechanics in operating refiners, a prototype piezoelectric-based sensor was developed to measure the forces applied by the bars. This work re-designs the prototype sensor to function at the mill-scale, and validates the design in two trials. Performance during these trials is presented along with an in-depth analysis of the recorded data. Arrays of force sensors were installed in two single-disc refiners: a pilot-scale machine operating as a primary stage, and a mill-scale machine operating as a rejects stage. In the rejects refiner, mean forces were highest at the periphery of the refining zone, while in the primary stage, mean forces were higher at the sensor closest to the refiner axis. Higher coefficients of friction were measured in the primary stage refiner, which also showed less active bar-crossings. Distributions of peak force values were generated for a range of standard operating conditions. Primary stage refining showed near decreasing exponential distributions, while rejects refining showed skewed normal distributions. These results indicate a fundamental difference in the behavior of these refiners, which is explained in terms of the processing stage of the wood fibre and scale of the refiner. Past laboratory experiments in a single-bar refiner have shown that pulp consistency can greatly affect the contact mechanics of bar-crossing impacts. The effect was observed as a positive correlation between the coefficient of friction and the mass fraction of fibre in the stock, known as the consistency. In the present work, a similar correlation was found in the primary stage refiner, but only in the sensor closest to the refiner axis. No significant changes in the coefficient of friction were observed in the rejects refiner; however, only a small range of consistencies was tested. These initial findings suggest relationships found in past laboratory tests may translate to larger-scale equipment. The clashing of plates during refining accelerates bar wear, and delays production. An investigation of the ability of the sensor to predict plate clash was conducted. The force sensors consistently provided advanced warning of a clash event, many seconds before the accelerometer-based plate protection system currently in use by the mill. A sensitivity study showed that the new system was able to outperform the accelerometer system over a range of detection settings, and that the accelerometer could not be tuned to match the performance of the new system.en_US
dc.rightsAvailable to the World Wide Weben_US
dc.subjectmechanical pulpen_US
dc.subjectchip refineren_US
dc.subject.lcshUVic Subject Index::Sciences and Engineering::Engineering::Mechanical engineeringen_US
dc.titleForces on bars in high-consistency mill-scale refinersen_US


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