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In this article, a novel continuous twin-screw kneader was proposed. The end-cross section of the screw rotor consists of convex arcs and cycloidal curves and the rotors profiles were presented. The mixing performance of the novel twin screw kneader was simulated using finite element method (FEM) combined with mesh superimposition technique (MST). Statistical analysis was carried out for flow field using particle tracking technique to research the effect of geometry parameters and working parameters on the mixing performance. To study the dispersive mixing performance, specifically the maximum shear rate, maximum shear stress, maximum mixing index, residence time distribution (RTD) and RTD density function of tracer particles, and dispersive mixing is evaluated using the mixing index in combination with the shear stress. The results show that the changes of centre distance between female and male rotor have little influence on dispersive mixing performance, the lead of rotor has little effect on maximum shear stress and maximum shear rate, while it has an obvious effect on mixing index, cumulative RTD, and RTD density function. The rotor speed has obvious influence on mixing performance, and average residence time of material decreases greatly and the mixing ability is weakened, while the self-cleaning performance of rotor improved obviously with the increasing of rotor speed. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:2407–2419, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers