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Mixers

Mixing is one of the important unit operation widely used from reaction to
finishing stages in chemical industry. A production (chemical) engineer has to
operate the running and modifications with the installed type for the particular
process or recommend one in case of plant erection or process design. The
selection or modification with these equipments is highly subject to the set of
properties of material being handled. Mixers are meant to shift the nonhomogeneity of a batch to a homogenous state. The degree of success in this
operation is never the hundred percent, since we cant assume that a molecule A
will take the very next position to the molecule B and so on. Our auditing analysis
is therefore subject to spot sampling methods that take concentrations at
randomly selected locations in a sample in to consideration to estimate the
overall mixing efficiency of the entire batch.
Different mixers being employed follow three1 mixing phenomenon: the smallscale random motion (diffusion), the large-scale random motion (convection) and
the interchange of particles by virtue of slip zones (shear). Mixers are employed
both for solids and liquids phases with varied interests. These include be but not
limited to blending of ingredients, cooling or heating purposes, drying or roasting
of solids, reaction engineering, coatings, agglomeration or even size reduction.
Confining our focus the mixing of solids, powders and particles, our selection is
subject to a set of properties2 which include: particle size distribution, bulk
density, true density, particle shape, surface characteristics, flow characteristics,
friability, state of agglomeration, moisture or liquid content of solids, density,
viscosity and surface tension, and temperature of ingredients. Referring our case
to the nature of solid particles, we have two classifications to cater for: non1
2

Perrys Chemical Engineering Handbook, Solid-Solid Operations and Equipment, Section 19, pg. 12
Perrys Chemical Engineering Handbook, Solid-Solid Operations and Equipment, Section 19, pg. 10

cohesive solids and cohesive solids. Further is the discussion over the types of
mixers for this classification.

For Non-Cohesive Solids


Mixers for non-sticky solids have a wide variety available for consideration. This may
range from free-flowing powders preferences to heavy pastes options. Mixing could be
carried3 out by agitation, tumbling, centrifugal action and impact forces. Following is a
brief about the options for discussed type of solids:

Internal Screw Mixer


It consists of a vertical vessel with a screw rotating to achieve the circulation of material
and secondly the elevation of material. This results in intermixing of solid grains as well
as shear action to the ones in contact with the screw or the walls of container. The feed
enters from bottom usually with aim to nullify the gravity factor which could escape the
molecules without desired mixing. Two vessel shapes are normally used for this
category, the cylindrical and the conical. On the basis of screw movement, it could
further be classified4.

3
4

McCabe Smith, Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Separations, Vol 7, pg 979
Perrys Chemical Engineering Handbook, Solid-Solid Operations and Equipment, Section 19, pg. 15

Type I: Conical shaped vessel, with a screw orbiting the centre of axis of the vertical
tank and also rotating around its own axis
Type II: Conical shaped vessel, with a screw fixed at the centre and rotating around its
own axis
Type III: Cylindrical vessel with a screw in centre and rotating around its own axis
Internal screw mixers are normally used for free-flowing grains and other light solids. In
type II, the conical tank is such tapered that with increase in height the area swept
increases.

Ribbon Mixer
Suitable for light and finely divided materials to fibrous sticky feed, ribbon mixer is
operated in both batch and continuous orders. It consists of a horizontal vessel with two
blades or ribbon in opposite directions with rotating at different speeds to intermix the
feed batch. The operation size5 could be as large as 34m3 for heavy ribbon mixers. The
size of ribbon widely affects the operational advantages. For example, broad ribbon can
be used for lifting or conveying purposes, while a narrow ribbon can cut the materials.
The type is further classified on construction parameters with differing features6 of
ribbon cross section and pitch, clearances between outer ribbon and shell, and number
of spirals etc.

5
6

McCabe Smith, Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Separations, Vol 7, pg 979
Perrys Chemical Engineering Handbook, Solid-Solid Operations and Equipment, Section 19, pg. 12

Tumbling Mixers
Tumbling mixers include mixers in which the vessel rotates, mixing the feed to optimum
levels, similar to tumbling mill that aim for size reduction. The closed vessel rotating
about its axis can handle heavy solids and dense slurries through diffusion mixing. The
shapes could include5 and are not limited to V-mixer, double cone, rotating cube. The
equipment main include internal sprays for addition of liquids to facilitate the mixing
process. Baffles could also be installed in an attempt to reduce segregation.
The retention time in a tumbling mixer is fixed since initial blending is rapid followed by
gradual uniform mixing. Excess time may affect and even decrease the quality of mixing
levels.

For Cohesive Solids


Cohesive solids employ maximum consideration in terms of mixer selection and
operating parameters due to influence of rheology and forces of cohesion. The power
consumption for this type of mixers is high due to these factors. Mixing of sticky solids
however is supported7 by shearing, folding, stretching and compressing elements.

McCabe Smith, Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Separations, Vol 7, pg 980

Muller Mixers
Suitable for heavy solids and pastes, muller mixer applies smearing, rubbing and
somewhat skidding action to achieve the desired mixing levels. Its working action is
similar to that of mortar and pestle. It has several types, three most common include:
Stationary-pan mixer, Rotating-pan mixer and Countercurrent-pan-muller mixer. The
roller wheels move in a circular chamber to ride over the material, producing shearing
action that causes size reduction as well as intermixing of material.

Change-can Mixer
Used for blending of viscous liquids & light pastes like food and paints, its most used
types are pony and beater mixer. In pony mixer, the can rotates to produce centrifugal
action to mix the materials, while in beater mixer, the agitator rotates to do the job. The
vertical shaft contains blades and paddles which are slightly twisted. When the mixing is
complete, agitator head is raised, lifting the blades out of can and the material can be
drained by tilting it.

Kneader Mixers
It is used to mix deformable or plastic solids by squashing the mass flat, folding it over
and squashing it once more7. It may tear the mass and shear it between the blades and
walls of mixer. The power requirements for this type of mixers are relatively high, esp. in
case of stiff materials. Examples (in order of power requirements) include: two-arm
kneader, disperser, masticator (intensive mixers), banbury mixer (internal mixers), and
continuous kneaders.
The two-arm kneader with minimum power requirements handles suspensions, pastes
and light plastic materials. A disperser with heavier construction body and more power
consumption is suitable for additives and coloring agents into stiff materials. Masticator
with maximum work capacity can work on scraping rubber and plastic materials. The
body is heavier than disperser and consumes more power.
In internal mixers, the chamber is sealed during the working time; making dispersions of
feed in liquid usually water. Example of such a type is Banbury mixer, a heavy-duty two
arm mixer in which the agitators are in form of interrupted spirals. The turning frequency
is 30 to 40 rpm. Kneaders work both in batch and continuous operation with equipment
parameters differing accordingly.

Paddle Mixers
These mixers are open air chambers with agitators scooping the materials and dropping
them again to those chambers, thus achieving the mixing levels via relocation of
material. The lifting action of blade is adjusted to the desired pace. This cross missing
configuration provides a homogenously mixed product. The use is effective even in
cases where bulk densities of component materials vary greatly. The design and bends
of the paddles are precisely made to ensure shear mixing in addition to convective one.

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1/12

DESIGNING A MIXER

PRELIMINARY
PRE
LIMINARY
Deciding on and choosing the size of a type of a mixer consists in finding the optimum parameters for the implementation of the desired
procedure. Frequently, optimization is limited by constraints such as costs, bulk or physical limits. This approach consists in choosing a
certain number of parameters:
Type of agitators and position
- Radial discharge rotors
- Axial discharge rotors
- Mix discharge rotors
- Angled discharge rotors
- Dispersion/emulsification rotors
Geometry of the tank (size, shape)
Rotation of the rotor (speed, rate of discharge)
Length of mixing
Imposed physical conditions (pressure, temperature)
The people who make these choices rely on their knowledge and experience to make them and choices become additionally complex
because of a certain number of factors of which the most frequent follow:

The nature and rheology of products can lead to complicated expressions of a certain number of parameters and specifically of their
respective progress during the mixing process. More precisely in the case of non Newtonian liquids (when viscosity of liquids is directly
related to the speed of shearing) for which is observed non linear progress of the required power and the rate of flow of circulation in
respect to the rotation speed of the agitator. This is observed in rheoliquidifying liquids (fruit juice, blood), threshold or Bingham liquids
(paint, varnish, mayonnaise, toothpaste), rheothickening liquids (wet grit, starch suspension, pizza dough) or thixotropic liquids
(yogurt).

Constraints regarding some parameters because of experience or technologic and economic reasons, such as the peripheral speed
return from one type of mixer to another, shearing rate, speed of flow or pumping limit the margin of action for the calculation of the
other mixing parameters. It is a limiting factor but we must consider that these constraints, in the end, lead to a more rapid result by
minimizing choices.

compromise:: a dominant parameter is established and calculated


In practice, choosing an agitator becomes a compromise
calculated and then
sufficient..
the other parameters are checked to insure they are sufficient

VMI recommends and implements the following method:


Step 1 ............................................................... Identification of the type of mixing to perform

Step 2 .................................................
................................................. Inventory of the characteristics of mixing materials

Step 3 ............................................. Identification of the global characteristics of mixing rotors

Step 4 .....................................................................Choice of the rotors

Step 5 ................................................... Calculation of the various mixing parameters (tank rotors)

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PAGE

2/12

DESIGNING A MIXER
STEP 1: Identification of the type of mixing to perform

Solid / liquid mixtures


- Soluble powders
Dissolution
Homogenizing
- Non soluble powders
powders
Placing in and/or maintaining in suspension
Homogenizing
Dispersion
Liquid / lliquid
iquid mixtures
- Miscible liquid
liquidss
Placing in and/or maintaining in suspension
Homogenizing
Dilution
- Immiscible liquids
Emulsion
rheol
oloogy of viscous mixtures
Complex rhe
ol
Placing in and/or maintaining in suspension
Dissolution
Homogenizing
Dispersion
Heat transfer
Grinding

STEP 2: Inventory of the characteristics of mixing materials

Liquids
Liquids
-

Density
Viscosity
Percentage
Initial and final temperature
Type of discharge

Nature
Percentage
Density
Granulometric dimensions and distribution
Settling speed
Wettability
Solubility

Nature
Flow
Pressure
Solubility

Solidss
Solid

Gas
Gas

rotors
s
STEP 3: Identification
Identification of the global
global characteristics
haracteristics of mixing rotor

Flow mainly generated (axial or radial)


Importance of the pumping effect (high, medium, low)
Importance of the shearing effect (high, medium, low)
Capacity of generating turbulence (high, medium, low)
ZI Nord - 85607 MONTAIGU Cedex - France
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PAGE

3/12

DESIGNING A MIXER
STEP 4: Choice of rotors
rotors
You must then chose between the varieties of rotors offered by VMI the one that is the best adapted to the mixture you want to produce.
Your choice should be based on the following:

Intrinsic characteristics of the rotors taking into account the preferred type of flow, knowing that frequently a compromise must be made
between the type of discharge (axial, radial, turbulent) and mechanical effect generated (circulation, shearing, ),
Laboratory tests,
Financial criteria: example = choice in order to achieve the best Nq/Np performance to minimize installed capacity,
Functional criteria: example = choice of a rotor that is the easiest to clean.

Currently VMI offers the following agitation rotors:


1.

Profiled triblade

7. Centripetal

13. Break=up

2.

Two way profiled triblade

8. Deflocculator

14. Butterfly

3.

PSVB four blade

9. Sevin with inlets

15. Saw teeth

4.

PSVH four blade

10. Centrifugal

16. Anchor blade

5.

PA four blade

11. Centri=deflocculator

17. Rotor=stator

6.

Water propeller

12. Cutting

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PAGE

4/12

DESIGNING A MIXER
Table I

Main Flow

AXIAL

RADIAL

Rotor Type

Function
Main Fu
nction

Power
NP

Pumping
NQ

Shearing
Strength

Water propeller (6)


Profiled triblade (1)
Two way
profiled triblade (2)
PSVB four blade (3)
PA four blade (5)
SEVIN with inlets (9)
Centripetal (7)
Centrifugal (10)
Saw teeth (15)
Deflocculator (8)
Centri=deflocculator (11)
Rotor/Stator wide slots
(17a)
Rotor/Stator narrow slots
(17b)

Circulation
Homogenizing liquid/liquid
Dissolution, incorporation
charges
Dilution/Dissolution
Dilution/Dissolution
Dissolution/Dispersion
Dilution/Dissolution
Dissolution
Dispersion
Dispersion
Dispersion

0.21 to 0.28
0.34 to 0.60

0.58 to 0.68
0.84 to 0.87

Very low
Very low

0.76 to 1.22

1.15 to 1.2

Very low

1 to 1.95
1.8 to 2.2
0.4 to 0.55
1.6 to 2
2.5 to 4.5
0.23 to 0.42
0.34 to 0.8
1.1 to 2

1 to 1.73
1 to 1.73
0.75 to 0.85
1.1 to 1.3
3 to 3.8
0.19 to 0.31
0.37 to 0.44
0.67 to 0.79

Very low
Very low
Medium
Low
Medium
High
High
High

Dispersion/Emulsion

2.1 to 5.9

0.82 to 0.9

Very high

Dispersion/Emulsion

2.3 to 6.2

0.55 to 0.6

Very high

Note: NP, NQ and shearing strength are expressed for equivalent diameters
P
(P: agitation power; : density; N: rotation speed; d: rotor diameter) is the coefficient
N 3d 5

Power: N =
p

of drag from the agitator when in the liquid and represents power usage.
Pumping: N = QP (QP: pumping flow rate; N: rotation speed; d: rotor diameter) is the dimensionless

expression of the pumping flow rate for the agitator.


Shearing strength indicates the capacity of the rotor in breaking the friction effect exerted by two infinitesimal

N d3

V
e

layers of liquid sliding against one another. Shearing is usually stated as speed of shearing & = , expressed as
s=1, a value that is very difficult to measure.
PERFORMANCE MOBILES
Pouvoir de cisaillement
0

Trs Faible

Faible

Moyen

Fort

Trs Fort

ROTOR/
STATOR FL

DISSOLUTION
DISPERSION

0,5

DILUTION
DISSOLUTION
QUADRIPALE

R
e
n
d
e
m
e
n
td
ed

b
itN
q
/N
p

ROTOR
STATOR FE

DISPERSION
EMULSION

CENTRIPETE
DEFLOCULEUSE
CENTRIFUGE

TRIPALE BIDIRECTTIONNELLE

1,5

SEVIN

MAINTIEN EN
SUSPENSION
HOMOGENEISATION
TRIPALE
PROFILEE

2,5

3
MARINE
3,5

Very Low

Low

ROTOR PERFORMANCE
Shearing Strength
Medium

High

Very High

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PAGE

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DESIGNING A MIXER

Table II
Solid / Liquid Mixtures
Soluble
Non Soluble Powders
Powders
Suspension
Homogenizing
High
circulation
capacity

Dissolution
Homogenizing

1 3 6 7

1 2 3

(*)

Liquid / Liquid Mixtures


Miscible Liquids
Immiscible
Liquids

1 3 6 7

1 2

1 3 7 10

Emulsion

(**) Deflocculator / Sevin


Break=up
Centri=deflocculator

1 3 6
.
16

8 9 10 11 12
.
(**)
13 15 17

Dispersion

8 16

(*) Triblade
Four blade
Water propeller
Centripetal

Dilution

High
shearing
strength

(*)

7 10 11

Heat
Transfer

Complex
Rheology for
Viscous
Mixtures

2 8 9 14
.
15 17

efficient for high volumes at low rotation speeds


efficient for low and medium volume at medium rotation speeds
efficient for high volumes requiring strong circulation
very efficient for dissolution because of the right compromise between circulation and shearing
a Sevin insures better circulation at equivalent power input, specifically for high volumes
very efficient for complex dissolutions
very efficient for placing compact materials in suspension
very good compromise between the centrifuge and deflocculator

Centrifuge

STEP 5: Calculation
Calculation of the various mixing parameters
1.

rotor(s)
Diameter, number and speed of one or more mixing rotor(s)

These calculations are performed taking into account as main parameters one or several criteria for a precise mixture:
Criteria for mixing efficiency
= peripheral speed,
= recirculation rate therefore capacity of the turbine,
= length of the mixing process.
Criteria linked to the rheology of the product (the higher the viscosity of the product, the higher the diameter of the rotor
at low speed)
Economic criteria

Table III

Guide for selecting the Dtool /Dtank ratio in the tank

Type of Rotor

Speed (rpm)
rpm)

Rotor/Stator

Propeller or Turbine
Anchor or butterfly blade

3000
1500
1500 to 750
500 to 250
170 to 90
60 to 30
10 to 200

Dtool / Dtank
Viscous product*
Low viscosity product
product*
0,1
0,15
0,2
0,25
0,3
0,5

0,2
0,25
0,3
0,5
0,6
0,8
0,9 1

*according to the number of movements

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PAGE

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DESIGNING A MIXER

Guide for selecting the peripheral speed


speed and the recirculation rate
Table IV
TYPE OF MIXTURE

Speed in m/s

Recirculation
volume bac/h

0,5 to 1,5
1,5 to 2,5
2,5 to 4

50 to 200
200 to 300
300 to 400

4 to 5

400 to 700

5 to 8

700 to 1000

8 to 10

800 to 1200

15 to 20

1000 to 1500

Maintaining in suspension, circulation: slow sedimentation product


Maintaining in suspension, circulation: fast sedimentation product
Liquid/liquid homogenizing
Liquid/solid homogenizing
Relatively equal apparent densities
Low concentration dissolution: 10 to 20 % max
Solid /liquid homogenizing
Very different apparent densities
High concentration dissolution: up to 50 %
Dispersion facile

Products that swell


Difficult dispersion

Extremely fine products

Mashing

Guide for selecting the number of ro


rotor
torss in the tank
tor
Table V
Viscosity Pa.s
0.001 (eau)
<0.1
0.1 to 10
10 to 30
30 to 60
60 to 100
100 to 1000
> 1000

2.

No. of
movements
mo
vements

Height of work (Nb of


times )

Flow rate factor K0

8 to 3
3 to 2
2 to 1.5
1.5 to 1
1
0.8
0.65
0.5

1.3
1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.5
0.35
0.2

1 movement
1 or 2 movements
2 movements minimum

Calculation
Calcul
ation of the characteristic parameters of the mixer

Sizes used:
- D: diameter of the mixing tool (m)
- N: rotation speed of the tool (t/s)
: apparent density of the liquid (kg/m3)
- : viscosity of the liquid (Pa.s)
- NP0: Number for nominal capacity
- NP: Number for corrected capacity
- NQ: Number of pumping actions
- KS: Metzner=Otto constant to calculate shearing
- K: Consistency index (Pa.sn=1 ) = n: exponent of rheoliquidifying; K and n are determined by a measure of
viscosity where = K n=1

Calculation of Reynolds number (Re)


Newtonian liquids: Re = x N x D2/
Non Newtonian liquids: Reequivalent = ( x N2=n x D2)/K

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PAGE

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DESIGNING A MIXER

Table VI
Re
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
10
20
30
40
50
70
100
150
200
250
300
500
1000
5000
10000
50000
100000

Calculation of the nominal capacity number NP0 = f(Re)


Experimental values of NP0 = f(Re) (NP0 = 1 for Re = 104)
Triblade
Profile

Water
Propeller

PA

Four blade
PSVB

PSVH

Centripetal

Deflocculator

SEVIN with
inlets

/
59
29,5
23,5
19,1
16,2
14,7
11,2
6,8
5,3
4,4
3,8
3,2
2,7
2,2
1,8
1,6
1,5
1,2
1,1
0,94
1
1,03
1,12

100
60
44
36
30
26
23,2
18
10
7,6
6
5,2
4,4
3,6
2,8
2,6
2,2
1,8
1,4
1,2
1
1
0,88
0,84

22,4
13,5
8,8
7,6
6,5
6,2
5,3
4,1
2,8
2,4
1,9
1,8
1,5
1,2
1,2
1,1
1,06
1,
0,95
0,95
1
1
1,06
1,1

36,2
21
14,3
12,4
10,5
10
8,6
5,7
3,8
3,1
2,8
2,6
2
1,7
1,4
1,1
0,95
0,95
0,86
0,86
0,95
1
1
1,05

31,5
19
12,4
11,4
9,5
9
7,6
5,2
3,2
2,7
2,2
2
1,8
1,3
1,2
1,05
0,95
0,95
0,86
0,86
0,95
1
1
1,05

53
31
22
18
16
12
11
9,5
6
4,7
4
3,4
2,8
2,3
2
1,8
1,7
1,7
1,5
1,2
1,05
1
0,96
0,95

94
55
39
34
30
24
22
16
10
7,9
7
6
5
4
3
2,5
2,4
2,2
1,8
1,4
1
1
1
1

128
77
57
49
41
31
28
23
14
10,5
9
7,7
6,2
5,2
3,8
3,1
2,8
2,6
2,1
1,6
1,05
1
0,97
0,9

Calculation of Froude number (Fr) if required (appearance of a vortex)


Fr = N2 x D/g (g=9,81 ms=2)
A vortex will be considered formed if Fr , 3

Calculation of corrected capacity number NP


- If Fr - 1 (no vortex), then NP = NP0
- if Fr , 3 (vortex), then NP = NP0 x Fry et y = (a Log Re) / b
radial effect rotors: a = 1 b = 40
axial effect rotors: a = 2,1 b = 18

Calculation of absorbed pump power Pab (in W)


Pabs = NP x x N3 x D5

Calculation of turbine flow rate Q (in m3/s)


Q = NQ x N x D3

Calculation of drag flow rate Qe (the viscosity of the liquid is taken into account)
Qe = Q x K0 (flow rate factor, see Table V)

Calculation of recirculation rate TRC (in volume / hour)


Directly deducted from the drag flow rate Qe and the volume V of the tank

Calculation of mixing time Tm


Tm = K x V/Qe where K is an experimental coefficient varying from 10 to 10000 (tests from Grenville and Co in
1992 or Nienow in 1997)
If K is unknown the value for K0 can be used (Table V), and you will get: Tm = K0/TRC

Calculation of peripheral speeds (VP), flow speeds (or transversal) (VF), and rising speed (VR)
Peripheral Speed (in m/s) (linear speed of the extremity of the turbine)
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DESIGNING A MIXER
VP = .D.N
Flow Speed (in m/s) (linear speed of the liquid in the turbine)
VF = (4 x NQ x D x N)/
Rising Speed (in m/s) (linear rising speed of liquids on the side of the tank)
VR = (4 x Q)/ (Dc2 = D2) = (VF x D2)/(Dc2= D2) with Dc = diameter of the tank

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