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Abstract

Theoretical formulations for impeller performance were evaluated based on a blade-element theory. These enable the calculation of the head and power vs. flow-rate curves of axial-flow impellers. The technique uses the lift and drag coefficients of the blade section of an impeller to calculate the spanwise swirl-velocity distribution. Using the angular-momentum equation, it is possible to calculate the corresponding spanwise distribution of the energy head of the impeller. Integration of these distributions of head and torque gives the impeller's performance. Parameters including the flow number, the power number, the thrust force number, and the swirl velocity can be found at the impeller operating point, determined using the head curve and an experimentally calibrated resistance curve. A laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV) system was used to measure the velocity distribution for different axial flow impellers in mixing tanks. Calculated flow and power numbers agreed well with the experimental results. Using the blade's spanwise head distribution and a set of calibrated flow-resistance data, it is also possible to estimate an impeller's outlet axial-velocity distribution. Predictions compared well with LDV experimental data. The effect of impeller-blade angle, number of blades, blade camber, and blade thickness on the performance of axial-flow impellers was investigated using the Agitator software.