Mixing time in yield stress fluids
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 11:32 by Ihuaku Ihejirika
Yield stress fluids are commonly encountered in the pharmaceutical, wastewater and bioprocess industries. On agitation of these fluids with an impeller, a zone of significant motion (cavern) is formed surrounded by stagnant regions. These inhomogeneous conditions are undesirable from a product quality standpoint. Therefore, to evolve a mixing system design that would eliminate these problems, experimental measurements of mixing time were obtained and combined with power consumption to provide a measure of mixing system efficiency. The effect of different parameters such as fluid rheology, impeller rotational speed, impeller type and impeller clearance on the mixing times was also investigated. In addition, using CFD, numerical mixing times were calculated and a comparison of the numerical and experimental mixing times were conducted to investigate the capability of the CFD tool to correctly predict the homogenization process in mixing tanks. In general, it was observed that the power characteristics of the different agitators were well reproduced by the computational package. In addition, CFD was able to correctly predict the effect of impeller rotational speed and fluid yield stress on the mixing times. However, the effect of impeller clearance on the mixing time was not correctly predicted by the CFD package when compared with experimental results obtained in this work as well as those obtained by other researchers. A comparison of the impellers used in this study (Pitched Blade Turbine (PBT), marine propeller and Lightnin A320) using the mixing time correlations available in the literature to fit the experimental data revealed that the PBT was superior to the other impellers in mixing yield stress fluids. In addition, the validated CFD model was used to measure the dimensions of the cavern formed around the impeller and it showed good agreement with the Elson's cavern model.