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1.7 Flow Patterns Developed in Agitated Tanks

There are three principal currents in the vessel during agitation:
1. Radial
2. Longitudinal
3. Swirling

Figure 5: Flow Patterns

component induces vortex and swirling, which in turn create stratification responsible for
nonuniform mixing. In such case fluid particles are followed by another fluid particle.
At relatively higher rpm, the center of vortex may reach impeller and air may be sucked
in. This may not be desirable.
Swirling can be minimized by placing the shaft slightly away from the center of the
vessel, or by putting baffles. In the latterconfiguration, tangential streamlines will also
be reduced.

1.8 Role of Dimensionless nos. in Agitation of fluids

1.8.1Reynolds number
Reynolds number (Re) is a dimensionless quantity that is used to help predict similar flow
patterns in different fluid flow situations. The Reynolds number is defined as the ratio of inertial
forces to viscous forces and consequently quantifies the relative importance of these two types of
forces for given flow conditions. They are also used to characterize different flow regimes
within a similar fluid, such as laminar or turbulent flow:
laminar flow occurs at low Reynolds numbers, where viscous forces are dominant, and is
characterized by smooth, constant fluid motion;

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Turbulent flow occurs at high Reynolds numbers and is dominated by inertial forces,
which tend to produce chaotic eddies, vortices and other flow instabilities.
For flow in a pipe or tube, the Reynolds number is generally defined as:

DH is the hydraulic diameter of the pipe; its characteristic travelled length, (m).
Q is the volumetric flow rate (m3/s).
A is the pipe cross-sectional area (m).
v is the mean velocity of the fluid (SI units: m/s).
is the dynamic viscosity of the fluid (Pas = Ns/m = kg/(ms)).

is the kinematic viscosity (

is the density of the fluid (kg/m).


1.8.2Prandtl number
The Prandtl number Pr is a dimensionless number, named after the German physicist Ludwig
Prandtl, defined as the ratio of momentum diffusivity (kinematic viscosity) to thermal. That is,
the Prandtl number is given as:

: kinematic viscosity,

: thermal diffusivity,
, (SI units : m2/s)
: dynamic viscosity, (SI units : Pa s = N s/m2)
: thermal conductivity, (SI units : W/(m K) )
: specific heat, (SI units : J/(kg K) )
: Density, (SI units: kg/m3 ).

, (SI units : m2/s)

1.8.3Froude number
The Froude number Fr is a dimensionless number defined as the ratio of a characteristic velocity
to a gravity wave velocity. It may equivalently be defined as the ratio of a body's inertia to
gravitational forces.
In fluid mechanics, the Froude number is used to determine the resistance of a partially
submerged object moving through water, and permits the comparison of objects of different
The Froude number is defined as:

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[1] Warren L. Mcabe, Unit Operation of Chemical Engineering, 7th

Edition, Tata McGraw Hill, 244-253
[2] Website:, 30/1/2015
[3] D. S. decey, Mixing and Agitation, 287-288.
[4] Website :
[5] Haruki Furukawa, Yoshihito Kato, Yoshiro Inoue, Correlation of Power
Consumption for Several Kinds of Mixing Impellers, Volume 2012,
Article ID 106496, 6 pages
[6] C. E. stoops and C. L. Lowell, Power consumption of Propeller type
agitator, 845
[7] 10/4/2015