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Abstract

The flows generated in vessels stirred by two Rushton impellers were investigated in two vessels of diameter (T) 100 and 294 mm with impellers of diameter D = T/3 using flow visualization, power consumption, mixing time, and 360° ensemble-averaged and 1° angle-resolved LDA measurement techniques. The flows depended strongly on the clearance of the lower impeller above the base of the vessel (C1), the separation between the impellers (C2), and the submergence (C3) of the upper impeller below the top of the liquid column height (H). When these distances were varied, three stable and four unstable flow patterns were observed. Comparisons between the two LDA techniques showed that while the 360° ensemble-averaged measurements are useful for characterizing the overall flow structure and turbulence levels in the vessel, care must be exercised when interpreting such data, since in the impeller region they include periodic variations in the mean velocity in addition to the turbulent fluctuations. The trailing vortex structure and flow periodicity produced by the Rushton impellers is shown to decay significantly within a cylindrical region of height 1.2D and radius 1.0D centered around the middle of the vessel, when C1 = C2 = T/3. The turbulence structure within this region is anisotropic, while outside this region it might be considered mostly isotropic. The main flow features scaled well between the vessels.