A wall boundary condition for the simulation of a turbulent non-Newtonian domestic slurry in pipes

Dhruv Mehta*, Adithya Thota Radhakrishnan, Jules van Lier, Francois Clemens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


The concentration (using a lesser amount of water) of domestic slurry promotes resource recovery (nutrients and biomass) while saving water. This article is aimed at developing numerical methods to support engineering processes such as the design and implementation of sewerage for concentrated domestic slurry. The current industrial standard for computational fluid dynamics-based analyses of turbulent flows is Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) modelling. This is assisted by the wall function approach proposed by Launder and Spalding, which permits the use of under-refined grids near wall boundaries while simulating a wall-bounded flow. Most RANS models combined with wall functions have been successfully validated for turbulent flows of Newtonian fluids. However, our experiments suggest that concentrated domestic slurry shows a Herschel-Bulkley-type non-Newtonian behaviour. Attempts have been made to derive wall functions and turbulence closures for non-Newtonian fluids; however, the resulting laws or equations are either inconsistent across experiments or lack relevant experimental support. Pertinent to this study, laws or equations reported in literature are restricted to a class of non-Newtonian fluids called power law fluids, which, as compared to Herschel-Bulkley fluids, yield at any amount of applied stress. An equivalent law for Herschel-Bulkley fluids that require a minimum-yield stress to flow is yet to be reported in literature. This article presents a theoretically derived (with necessary approximations) law of the wall for Herschel-Bulkley fluids and implements it in a RANS solver using a specified shear approach. This results in a more accurate prediction of the wall shear stress experienced by a circular pipe with a turbulent Herschel-Bulkley fluid flowing through it. The numerical results are compared against data from our experiments and those reported in literature for a range of Reynolds numbers and rheological parameters that are relevant to the prediction of pressure losses in a sewerage transporting non-Newtonian domestic slurry. Nonetheless, the application of this boundary condition could be extended to areas such as chemical and food engineering, wherein turbulent non-Newtonian flows can be found.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Domestic slurry
  • Herschel-Bulkley
  • Non-Newtonian
  • Pipe flow
  • Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes


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