Paper and board are often coated at high speeds with a mineral-based aqueous suspension in order to improve their printing properties. This suspen- sion is usually called coating colour. The flow behaviour of the coating colour in the cavity of the short dwell coater (SDC) and in the vicinity of the blade tip when paper is coated with a stiff blade has been analysed using the finite element method. The models used to simulate the flow incorporated free surfaces and shear-thinning colours. The Newtonian case was in some cases also included in the modelling. The viscosity level and the shear-thinning character of the coating colour had a significant influence on the flow in the SDC cavity, although the overall behaviour was to a large extent governed by the speed of the coater. The pressure distribution along the paper surface in the SDC cavity was also analysed. In agreement with earlier reported results, increasing the machine speed raised the pressure level in the colour close to the blade tip. The rheological properties of the coating colour also affected the flow field and the pressure distribution in this region; e.g. it was found here that a colour with a high viscosity level at low shear rates developed a high pressure level close to the blade tip. The most interesting result revealed by the analysis was that changes in the configuration close to the blade tip (converging flow between the blade tip and the paper and compression of the substrate under the blade tip) and boundary conditions at the blade tip surface had a very significant effect on the pressure distribution. The predictions of the numerical simulation were to some extent compared with experience from practical coating trials.
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