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Modelling of liquid flow in Nonwovens
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Definitions & basics …….
Wetting :Process by which a fiber-air interface is replaced with a fiber-liquid interface – often measured by the contact angle. Absorption :Liquid uptake into the fibers/materials themselves. Wicking:Liquid uptake into the material via capillary action – this is responsible for the bulk of the liquid movement into a fabric. Adsorption:Thin layer of liquid on face of material.

Contact angle

Contact angle is a measure of the wetting of a liquid on a solid surface. It is expressed in degrees, with 0 degrees being complete wetting and 180 degrees being absolute non-wetting


Surface tension

When one fluid is a gas the tension is termed surface tension, when both fluids are liquids it is termed interfacial tension. Polar liquids, such as water, have strong intermolecular interactions and thus high surface tensions.

complete wetting when γSG > γSL + γLG & zero wetting when γSL > γSG + γLG


The porosity of a material is defined as the fraction of void space within the material.

ρb = fabric weight ( g / cm 2 ) / thickness (cm)


wicking is liquid uptake by the capillaries (interstices) formed by the yarns and fibers

Wicking height is

For a positive capillary pressure, the values of θ have to be between 0° and 90°. where:

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is the liquid-air surface tension (J/m² or N/m) θ is the contact angle ρ is the density of liquid (kg/m3) g is acceleration due to gravity (m/s²) r is radius of tube (m)

Darcy`s law
Mainly used for slow , viscous & laminar fluid flow

Unit- m/s

Washburn's equation :It describes capillary flow in porous materials. It is the relationship between distance wet & time

where t is the time for a liquid of viscosity η and surface tension γ to penetrate a distance L into a fully wettable, porous material whose average pore diameter is D.

Important Considerations
Wicking and absorption are influenced by:
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Fiber Properties, Fiber Orientation Distribution – Nonwoven Structure, Fabric Density, Thickness and Fiber and Fabric Finish

Different permeability models
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Specific permeability of a nonwoven fabric is a characteristic feature of fabric structure & represents the void capacity through which a liquid can flow. Unit is m2

 Three theories-

 Capillary channel theory.

 Drag force theory.

 Unit cell theory- fibres are assumed to be aligned in periodic

Basic assumptions
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Nonwoven fabric is Homogeneous Isotropic or Unidirectional or anisotropic

Modelling capillary wicking

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Wicking process can be divided into four categories Pure wicking Wicking + diffusion Wicking + adsorption Wicking + diffusion + adsorption

Capillary pressure (Laplace`s equation)

Hagen-poiseuille equation
Dh ---Dt r2∆P = -----8ŋh Where h is the distance through which fluid flow in time t

Lucas –washburn equation

Mao- Russell equations
Another problem in applying capillary channel theory to describe the liquid absorption in nonwovens is the difficulty in quantifying the average equivalent capillary radii because:

-The capillary channels differ in size and shape. - They are also interconnected as well as interdependent to form a threedimensional network system. - The capillary channels in real nonwoven fabrics do not have circular cross sections and are not necessarily uniform along their lengths.

Directional permeability in anisotropic nonwovens
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-fibres alligned in z direction are perpendicular to fabric plane - fibre distribution in z direction is homogeneous & uniform - flow along the z direction is ignored

df is the fibre dia z is the fraction of fibres aligned in Z direction Volume fraction of solid Ω(α) materials Fibre orientation distribution function liquid flow direction θ α Fibre orientation in each direction of fabric plane φ

Mao- Russell 2D model for Capillary pressure
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same dia fibre & no alignment in z direction High porosity , homogenous Fibres obeys fibre orientation distribution function

P(θ) Is the directional capillary pressure Since we know capillary pressure & specific permeability , so putting these values in darcy law we get the rate of liquid absorption or wicking rate in the direction of flow.

Relationship between distance wicked by liquid & time can be obtained In the form of Lucas-Washburn eq


Determination of spreading length
Directional permeability Capillary pressure

Rate of absorption

1. Apply a median filter to remove salt and pepper noise. 2. Apply a Gaussian filter to smooth the edges. 3. Threshold the image by selecting the gray levels occupying. the wetted area and suppressing the others. 4. Extract the boundary. 5. Track the boundary, find the center of gravity and track.

Permeability's in 3D NONWOVEN structures
For isotropic structures

For fibre alignment in fabric plane

z is the fraction of fibres aligned in Z direction

Emperical equation for pore size

Liquid expulsion porometry

Where d = pore dia (mm) σ= surface tension (N/m) P = capillary pressure equivalent to applied pressure (pa) Contact angle is assumed to be zero Smaller the pore dia, greater will be the applied pressure required to overcome the Capillary pressure and to push the liquid out of the pore.

Wrotnowski`s model for pore size

Where tex = fibre linear density df is the fibre dia in (m)

Fibres arranged in square pattern in model

Goeminne`s equation

ε is the porosity Hagen-poisullie`s equation

Some other models for permeability
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Based on drag force theory Emersleben`s equationHappel`s model-


Empirical models

To be studied……..

3D models…….. Fibre orientation…… Pore size distribution…….


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