Measurement and modelling of dynamic fluid saturation in carbon reinforcements

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We propose a methodology to monitor the progressive saturation of a non-translucent unidirectional carbon fabric stack through its thickness by means of X-ray radiography and extract the dynamic saturation curves using image analysis. Four constant flow rate injections with increasing flow speed were carried out. These were simulated by a numerical two-phase flow model for both capillary and viscous leading flow conditions. The hydraulic functions describing pressure and relative permeability versus saturation were determined by fitting the saturation curves using a heuristic optimization routine. As the fluid velocity increases and the flow regime at the flow front shifts from capillary to hydrodynamically driven, the resulting capillary pressure curves for a given saturation level are shifted to higher values, from negative to positive. These as well as the capillary pressure calculated from the pressure drop within the unsaturated region of the fabric correlate well with a corresponding change in the averaged dynamic contact angle.