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ESGN 530

Water Supply Engineering Spring 2005

Dr. Jrg Drewes

Rapid Mix
Coagulation and precipitation processes both require the addition of chemicals to the water
stream. The process of dispersing chemicals is known as rapid mix or flash mix.
Types of Mixers
Rapid-mixing units can be classified
according to the method of agitation
(mechanical or static) and type of
flow pattern (plug-flow or complete
mix) (Figure 8).
Mechanically agitated mixers:
radial-flow impellers or
turbine impellers, Figure 8
(a) and (b); axial-flow
pitched-blade impellers
(Figure 8 (c)
propeller (Figure 8 (d) and
Figure 8.

Radial- and axial-flow impellers

Static mixers create turbulence by the use of hydraulic jumps, baffles, turbulent flow in a
pipeline or channel, or contractions or enlargements in a pipeline. Table 3 compares the
advantages and disadvantages of mechanical and static mixers.
Table 3.

Comparison of Mechanical and Static Mixers

Mixer Type
Mechanical mixers

Static mixers


Agitation independent of flow

Agitation is adjustable
High flexibility in operation
Little or no maintenance
Very reliable


Additional equipment
required for maintenance
Reliability subject to
equipment failure
Agitation dependent on flow
High head loss
Less flexibility in operation

Agitation Requirements
In water treatment, the degree of agitation in a mixing unit is measured by velocity gradient.
For mixing equipment, the value of the velocity gradient is given by equation 1.



ESGN 530

Water Supply Engineering Spring 2005



Dr. Jrg Drewes


G = velocity gradient, 1/s (G = 700 to 1,000 1/s)
P = power imparted to the water, N-m/s or Watt, W (lb-ft/s)
V = volume of the basin, m3 (ft3)
= absolute viscosity of the fluid, N-s/m2 (lb-s/ft2)

The motor power of the mixer is the power to drive the speed reduction gears. The power
imparted to the water by a mixer is calculated from equation 2.


n = impeller speed, revolutions per second (rps)
T = impeller shaft torque, N-m (lb-ft)
Power expressions for laminar-flow range (Reynolds number NR < 10), equation 3
P = Npn2d3


Np = power number of impeller (Table 4)
d = impeller diameter, m (ft)
= mass density of fluid, kg/m3
= water density, N/m3 (lb/ft3)
g = acceleration due to gravity, m/s2 (ft/s2)
= dynamic viscosity of water, N-s/m2 (lb-s/ft2)
Power expressions for turbulent-flow range (Reynolds number NR > 10,000), equation 4
P = Npn3d5


The Reynolds number for rapid mixers is given in equation 5.

NR =

d 2 n

(or d 2 n / g )




ESGN 530

Water Supply Engineering Spring 2005

Dr. Jrg Drewes

The design value of the velocity gradient G is dependent on the detention time in the mixing
unit, the coagulant dosage rate, and the geometry of the mixing unit. Velocity gradients
normally range from 100 to 1000/s. In general, a short duration of high intensity mixing often
gives the best results.
The velocity gradient for a mixing basin utilizing flow-induced turbulence can be calculated from
equation (6).

hL g hL
t t


hL = total head loss through the mixer, m
t = detention time, s
In U.S. units, simplified for 4 C, equation 7

h' L
G = 178

t '


hL = total head loss through the mixer, ft
t = detention time, min

Table 4.

Radial flow

Axial flow

Power Numbers of Various Rapid-Mix Impellers

Power Number, Np
Straight blade turbine
4 blade (w/d = 0.15)
4 blade (w/d = 0.2)
Disc turbine
4 blade (w/d = 0.25)
6 blade (w/d = 0.25)


Propeller 1:1 pitch

Propeller 1.5:1 pitch
45 Pitched blade
4 blade (w/d = 0.15)
4 blade (w/d = 0.2)




ESGN 530

Water Supply Engineering Spring 2005

Dr. Jrg Drewes

The detention time in rapid mixers (equation 8) should provide sufficient time for complete
homogenization of the chemicals with the water and also provide sufficient time for the floc to
reach particle-size equilibrium. Particle-size equilibrium refers to the condition where no
additional rapid mixing will result in any further turbidity removal by settling alone. Typical
detention time for rapid mixers ranges from 10 s to 5 min. Shorter detention times require
higher velocity gradients to achieve effective mixing. Conversely, longer detention times permit
lower velocity gradients. Optimum design values are best determined experimentally.




t = average detention time, min
Q = flow rate, m3/min (ft3/min)
V =volume of the reactor, m3 (ft3)

Geometry of Rapid-Mix Basin

Rapid mixers utilizing mechanical mixers are usually square and have a depth-to-width ratio of
approximately 2. Mixing units with vertical flow patterns utilizing radial-flow mixers tend to
minimize short-circuiting effects (Figure 9). Round or cylindrical mixing chambers should be
avoided for mechanical mixers.

Figure 9. Flow pattern in radial flow mixed unit

Figure 10. Mixing utilizing a hydraulic jump

A channel with fully turbulent flow of sufficient length to yield the desired detention time,
followed by a hydraulic jump, has been used successfully (Figure 10). Also, pipe reducers and
increasers with a sufficient length of pipe develop fully turbulent flow condition and may give
the desired detention time.
In all cases, the coagulant chemical should be added to the water stream immediately prior to
the point of greatest turbulence.



ESGN 530

Water Supply Engineering Spring 2005

Dr. Jrg Drewes

Figure 10.

Details of rapid-mix basins: Overall layout and plan view of rapid-mix basin

Figure 11.

Details of rapid-mix basins: A-A and B-B