Mixing of viscoelastic fluids

Ramsay, John Andrew (2017). Mixing of viscoelastic fluids. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This work investigates the laminar mixing performance of viscoelastic fluids in laboratory-scale batch stirred tanks agitated by “butterfly” impellers and in-line Kenics KM static mixers. Constant-viscosity viscoelastic (Boger) fluids were formulated to investigate viscous and elastic effects separately; multiphase viscoelastic suspensions were formulated from 40-50 volume% glass spheres in glycerol.

Particle Image Velocimetry in stirred tanks agitated by high impeller-to-tank diameter ratio butterfly impellers (D/T=0.98) showed that secondary flows in Boger fluid increased solid body rotation and reduced local shear rates (≤16 s-1) compared to equivalent viscosity Newtonian fluids, though the effect was non-monotonic. Mixing times obtained from Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) increased by ≤23%. Positron Emission Particle Tracking in multiphase suspensions showed increased axial mixing due to more dominant secondary flows. In static mixers, Boger fluid striation patterns at the mixer outlet obtained from PLIF showed time dependence and flow instability due to reduced local shear rates.

Energy consumption in all geometries displayed an increase of ≤200% with viscoelastic fluids. Using a generalised Reynolds number Reg enabled viscoelastic power draw prediction, previously only possible through empirical relationships. Overall, viscoelasticity generally increases energy consumption whilst reducing blending performance though the link between elasticity and mixing quality is highly non-linear.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7333


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