Experiments with synthetic fibres and a special flow apparatus, yielding data for the water permeation of fibre mats in the viscous-turbulent flow regime are briefly described. It is found that, within the range of the variables concerned,the results conform well to a recently established empirical equation relating the flow resistance of a pad to the flow speed, pad porosity and fibre specific surface. This empirical expression is then used, along with an equation representing wet mat compression characteristics, to construct a theoretical model of high-speed filtration. The result is a system of non-linear partial differential equations for the suspension kinematics and the flow rate/density distributions within the forming mat. Examples of numerical solutions are presented and discussed.
When a constant pressure is applied to a fibre slurry initially at rest, it under goes a continuously decreasing acceleration, reaching a maximum filtration speed, after which the speed decreases uniformly, corresponding to a constant pressure drop filtration process. The peak speed may be as much as eight times greater than the speed characterising the final constant pressure zone. Theoretical results for the density distribution in a forming mat illustrate the effect of relative compressibility, for which the more compressible material exhibits a rapidly changing density profile near the supporting septum. It is also found that the rat eat which the mat builds up after peak slurry speed decreases with increasing time to an extent depending on the mat compressibility. Filtration experiments with a bleached sulphite pulp yield results that agree satisfactorily with the calculations, confirming predicted formation times to within less than 10 percent. The experiments thus further corroborate the predicted inverse relationship of formation time with applied pressure, as well as an approximate proportionality of formation time and sheet substance.