Transport of a water-soluble polymer during drying of a model porous media

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This article presents an experimental investigation on transport of methylhydroxyethylcellulose (MHEC) during drying of a model porous material. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and thermogravimetric analysis are used to measure water and MHEC transport, respectively. MHEC is added to glue mortars to increase open time, i.e., the time period during which tiles can be applied with sufficiently good adhesion. Previous work showed that MHEC promotes a receding front during drying and therefore leads to differences in the degree of hydration throughout the mortar sample, i.e., the top surface shows poor hydration and the bottom surface shows good hydration. In this study, we investigate the transport of MHEC during drying of a model porous material, consisting of packed glass beads saturated with an aqueous MHEC solution. At MHEC concentration less than 1.3 wt%, homogeneous drying is observed, enabling advective transport of MHEC toward the drying surface. In this case, accumulation of MHEC may form a skin at the top surface and below this skin layer, a gel zone may form, which allows migration of water toward the evaporation surface. When the MHEC concentration is above 1.3 wt%, front receding drying is observed, which prevents transport of MHEC, resulting in a more homogeneous distribution of MHEC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1874-1886
Number of pages13
JournalDrying Technology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2017


  • Bond number
  • capillary number
  • drying
  • MHEC
  • NMR
  • polymer transport
  • porous media
  • TGA


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