Using CFD and Ultrasonic velocimetry to Study the Mixing of Pseudoplastic Fluids with a Helical Ribbon Impeller



A commercial CFD package was used to simulate the 3D flow field generated in a cylindrical tank by a helical ribbon impeller. The study was carried out using a pseudoplastic fluid with yield stress in the laminar mixing region. Ultrasonic Doppler velocimetry (UDV), a noninvasive fluid flow measurement technique for opaque systems, was used to measure xanthan gum velocity. From flow field calculations and tracer homogenization simulations, power consumption and mixing time results were obtained. The torque and power characteristics remain the same for upward and downward pumping of the impeller, but the mixing times are considerably longer for the downward pumping mode. Overall, the numerical results showed good agreement with experimental results and correlations developed by other researchers. From the power and mixing time results, two efficiency criteria were utilized to determine the best pumping mode of the impeller.