Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.65, No.6, 2249-2254, 2010
Modeling permeability of 3-D nanofiber media in slip flow regime
Over the last few decades, numerous analytical and/or numerical expressions have been developed for predicting the permeability of a fibrous medium. These expressions, however, are not accurate in predicting the permeability of media made up of nanofibers. This is because the previous expressions were mostly developed for coarse fibers, where using the so-called no-slip velocity boundary condition at the fiber surface is quite justified. Removing the no-slip velocity restriction in this work, we study the effect of slip flow on the permeability of fibrous materials made up of nanofibers. This has been accomplished by generating a large series of 3-D virtual geometries that resemble the microstructure of a nanofiber (e.g., electrospun) material. Stokes flow equations are solved numerically in the void space between the nanofibers, with the slip flow boundary condition developed based on the Maxwell first order model. The influence of fiber diameter and solid volume fraction (SVF) on the media's permeability is studied, and used to establish a correction factor for the existing permeability expressions when used for nanofiber media. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.