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Experimental study of the hydraulic operation of an annular centrifugal contactor with various mixing vane geometries



The annular centrifugal contactor is a combination mixer/centrifuge that has been developed for solvent extraction processes for recycling used nuclear reactor fuel. The experimental observations presented were part of a simulation-focused research effort aimed at providing a more complete understanding of the fluid flow within these contactors to enable further advancements in design and operation of future units and greater confidence for use of such contactors in a variety of other solvent extraction applications. Laser doppler velocimetry (LDV), particle image velocimetry (PIV), pressure measurements, and high-speed video imaging for a range of flow rates and rotor speeds were performed to characterize the flow of water in the annular mixing region of the contactor using three different mixing vane geometries. It was found that the geometry of the mixing vanes has a significant impact on the annular liquid height and general flow in the contactor mixing zone. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010