Physical Review E

Tricoupled hybrid lattice Boltzmann model for nonisothermal drying of colloidal suspensions in micropore structures

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A tricoupled hybrid lattice Boltzmann model (LBM) is developed to simulate colloidal liquid evaporation and colloidal particle deposition during the nonisothermal drying of colloidal suspensions in micropore structures. An entropic multiple-relaxation-time multirange pseudopotential two-phase LBM for isothermal interfacial flow is first coupled to an extended temperature equation for simulating nonisothermal liquid drying. Then the coupled model is further coupled with a modified convection diffusion equation to consider the nonisothermal drying of colloidal suspensions. Two drying examples are considered. First, drying of colloidal suspensions in a two-pillar micropore structure is simulated in two dimensions (2D), and the final configuration of colloidal particles is compared with the experimental one. Good agreement is observed. Second, at the temperature of 343.15 K (70°C), drying of colloidal suspensions in a complex spiral-shaped micropore structure containing 220 pillars is simulated (also in 2D). The drying pattern follows the designed spiral shape due to capillary pumping, i.e., transport of the liquid from larger pores to smaller ones by capillary pressure difference. Since the colloidal particles are passively carried with liquid, they accumulate at the small menisci as drying proceeds. As liquid evaporates at the small menisci, colloidal particles are deposited, eventually forming solid structures between the pillars (primarily), and at the base of the pillars (secondarily). As a result, the particle deposition conforms to the spiral route. Qualitatively, the simulated liquid and particle configurations agree well with the experimental ones during the entire drying process. Quantitatively, the model demonstrates that the evaporation rate and the particle accumulation rate slowly decrease during drying, similar to what is seen in the experimental results, which is due to the reduction of the liquid-vapor interfacial area. In conclusion, the hybrid model shows the capability and accuracy for simulating nonisothermal drying of colloidal suspensions in a complex micropore structure both qualitatively and quantitatively, as it includes all the required physics and captures all the complex features observed experimentally. Such a tricoupled LBM has a high potential to become an efficient numerical tool for further investigation of real and complex engineering problems incorporating drying of colloidal suspensions in porous media.