The start of ebullition in quiescent, yield-stress fluids

David J. Sherwood, A. Eduardo Sáez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Non-Newtonian rheology is typical for the high-level radioactive waste (HLW) slurries to be processed in the Hanford Tank Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). Hydrogen and other flammable gases are generated in the aqueous phase by radiolytic and chemical reactions. HLW slurries have a capacity for retaining gas characterized by the shear strength holding the bubbles still. The sizes and degassing characteristics of flammable gas bubbles in the HLW slurries, expected to be processed by the WTP are important considerations for designing equipment and operating procedures. Slurries become susceptible to degassing as the bubble concentration increases over a maximum value that depends on shear strength. This susceptibility and the process of ebullitive bubble enlargement are described here. When disturbed, the fluid undergoes localized flow around neighboring bubbles which are dragged together and coalesce, producing an enlarged bubble. For the conditions considered in this work, bubble size increase is enough to displace the weight required to overcome the fluid shear strength and yield the surroundings. The buoyant bubble ascends and accumulates others within a zone of influence, enlarging by a few orders of magnitude. This process describes how the first bubbles appear on the surface of a 7 Pa shear strength fluid a few seconds after being jarred.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - Apr 15 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering


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