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Air Sparging for Mixing Non-Newtonian Slurries

[+] Author Affiliations
Judith Ann Bamberger, Carl W. Enderlin, S. Tzemos

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA

Paper No. IMECE2010-40833, pp. 645-651; 7 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 7: Fluid Flow, Heat Transfer and Thermal Systems, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4444-1
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


The mechanics of air sparger systems have been primarily investigated for aqueous-based Newtonian fluids. Tilton et al. (1982) [1] describes the fluid mechanics of air sparging systems in non-Newtonian fluids as having two primary flow regions. A center region surrounding the sparger, referred to as the region of bubbles (ROB), contains upward flow due to the buoyant driving force of the rising bubbles. In an annular region, outside the ROB, referred to as the zone of influence (ZOI), the fluid flow is reversed and is opposed to the direction of bubble rise. Outside the ZOI the fluid is unaffected by the air sparger system. The flow regime in the ROB is often turbulent, and the flow regime in the ZOI is laminar; the flow regime outside the ZOI is quiescent. Tests conducted with shear thinning non-Newtonian fluid in a 34-in. diameter tank showed that the ROB forms an approximately inverted cone that is the envelop of the bubble trajectories. The depth to which the air bubbles reach below the sparger nozzle is a linear function of the air-flow rate. The recirculation time through the ZOI was found to vary proportionally with the inverse square of the sparging air-flow rate. Visual observations of the ROB were made in both water and Carbopol®. The bubbles released from the sparge tube in Carbopol® were larger than those in water.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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