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Title: Rheology of three-phase suspensions determined via dam-break experiments
Three-phase suspensions, of liquid that suspends dispersed solid particles and gas bubbles, are common in both natural and industrial settings. Their rheology is poorly constrained, particularly for high total suspended fractions (≳0.5). We use a dam-break consistometer to characterize the rheology of suspensions of (Newtonian) corn syrup, plastic particles and CO 2 bubbles. The study is motivated by a desire to understand the rheology of magma and lava. Our experiments are scaled to the volcanic system: they are conducted in the non-Brownian, non-inertial regime; bubble capillary number is varied across unity; and bubble and particle fractions are 0 ≤  ϕ gas  ≤ 0.82 and 0 ≤  ϕ solid  ≤ 0.37, respectively. We measure flow-front velocity and invert for a Herschel–Bulkley rheology model as a function of ϕ gas , ϕ solid , and the capillary number. We find a stronger increase in relative viscosity with increasing ϕ gas in the low to intermediate capillary number regime than predicted by existing theory, and find both shear-thinning and shear-thickening effects, depending on the capillary number. We apply our model to the existing community code for lava flow emplacement, PyFLOWGO, and predict increased viscosity and decreased velocity compared with current rheological models, suggesting existing models may not more » adequately account for the role of bubbles in stiffening lavas. « less
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Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Most lava flows carry bubbles and crystals in suspension. From earlier works, it is known that spherical bubbles increase the effective viscosity while bubbles deformed by rapid flow decrease it. Changes in the spatial distribution of bubbles can lead to variable rheology and flow localization and thus modify the resulting lava flow structure and morphology. To understand the roles of bubble and solid phase crystal distributions, we conducted a series of analog experiments of high bubble fraction suspensions. We poured the analog lava on an inclined slope, observed its shape, calculated the velocity field, and monitored its local thickness. A region of localized rapid flow and low vesicularity, whose thickness is thinner than the surrounding area, develops at the center of the bubbly flows. These features suggest that the locally higher liquid fraction decreases the effective viscosity, increases the fluid density, and accelerates the flow. We also found that a halted particle‐bearing bubbly flow can resume flowing. We interpret this to result from the upward vertical separation of bubbles, which generates a liquid‐rich layer at the bottom of the flow. In our experiment, bubbles are basically spherical and decrease the flow velocity, while our estimate suggests that bubbles inmore »natural lava flows could increase or decrease flow velocity. Downstream decreases in flow velocity stops the bubble deformation and can cause a sudden increase of effective viscosity. The vertical segregation of the liquid phase at the slowed flow front may be a way to generate a cavernous shelly paho’eho’e.

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  2. Abstract

    The rheology of lavas and magmas exerts a strong control on the dynamics and hazards posed by volcanic eruptions. Magmas and lavas are complex mixtures of silicate melt, suspended crystals, and gas bubbles. To improve the understanding of the dynamics and effective rheology of magmas and lavas, we performed dam‐break flow experiments using suspensions of silicone oil, sesame seeds, and N2O bubbles. Experiments were run inside a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to provide imaging of the flow interior. We varied the volume fraction of sesame seeds between 0 and 0.48, and of bubbles between 0 and 0.21. MRI phase‐contrast velocimetry was used to measure liquid velocity. We fit an effective viscosity to the velocity data by approximating the stress using lubrication theory and the imaged shape of the free surface. In experiments with both particles and bubbles (three‐phase suspensions), we observed shear banding in which particle‐poor regions deform with a lower effective viscosity and dominate flow propagation speed. Our observations demonstrate the importance of considering variations in phase distributions within magmatic fluids and their implications on the dynamics of volcanic eruptions.

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