Experimental Investigation of the Pumping of a Model-Concrete through Pipes

Materials (Basel). 2020 Mar 5;13(5):1161. doi: 10.3390/ma13051161.


Many practical aspects of processing fresh concrete depend on its rheology, such as the pumping of the material. It is known that a lubricating layer is formed in the process, which significantly reduces the pumping pressure. However, these phenomena can hardly be considered in the usual rheological measurements. A main problem is the optical inaccessibility of the material, which prevents estimations about, e.g., the thickness of the plug flow or particle migration. In this paper, the pneumatic pumping of a transparent model concrete is performed by means of a test plant. The flow profile over the entire pipe cross-section is resolved in time and space via Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements. This allows the comparison with the analytical flow profile from rheological measurements of the material using the Buckingham-Reiner equation. A reduction of the pressure loss to around 60% induced through segregation of the material is found. These measurements reflect the rheology of the material under realistic pumping conditions including particle migration. This makes it possible for the first time to observe a transparent material with concrete-like rheology under pulsating pumping conditions and to compare the true and calculated time-resolved pressure loss.

Keywords: concrete; measurement methods; migration; particle image velocimetry; pressure-loss; refractive index matching; rheology; segregation.