A Method to Measure the Permeability of Dry Fiber Mats

Patrik Pettersson, T. Staffan Lundström, Tomas Wikström


Close to the finalization of the medium density fiberboard process, a fairly thick bed of loosely entangled fibers is compressed in a belt-press to often less than a tenth of its original unstressed thickness. This single unit operation is very important to consider when the manufacturing process of the boards is to be optimized. Despite this, there is a lack of knowledge of the interaction between the fiber mat strength and how the fluid flows through it, i.e. de-aeration. Thus, it is of greatest importance to find reliable methods for studying this stage of the manufacturing process. Following this quest, a method is developed with which the gas permeability of fiber mats can be measured. The method offers the potential to measure the permeability at different flow rates and thus at arbitrary pressure gradients through the material. The method is successfully validated with a porous reference material consisting of polymer spheres, and it is shown that the flow follows Darcy's law at the flow rates of interest. Finally, the method is demonstrated by a presentation of permeability measurements on fiber mats consisting of spruce fibers.


Medium density fiberboard;gas permeability;anisotropic permeability;experimental validation;porous flow

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