• computational fluid dynamics;
  • stirred tank;
  • yield stress;
  • cavern

Prediction of cavern formation in yield stress fluids in stirred tanks is of great importance for optimization. A new torus model is developed and then validated by experimental data and computational fluid dynamics simulation. Unlike existing mathematical models, the new torus model assumes that the circular center of the torus should not be outside the impeller swept region as the Reynolds number (Re) increases. Hence the cavern boundary is shaped like an apple torus rather than a horn torus. The new model also considers the cavern-vessel interactions. At relatively high Re, the new model predicts cavern shape and size better than other models. It correctly captures the cavern outline at various Re, which verified the assumption about torus center. The new model is then used to identify the influence of rheological parameters on cavern formation, and further extended to the cavern prediction of the dual-impeller system. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 3057–3070, 2014