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Numerical Simulation and Mixing Study of Non-Newtonian Fluids in an Industrial Helical Static Mixer

[+] Author Affiliations
Ramin K. Rahmani, Theo G. Keith, Anahita Ayasoufi

University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

Paper No. HT-FED2004-56020, pp. 59-67; 9 pages
  • ASME 2004 Heat Transfer/Fluids Engineering Summer Conference
  • Volume 2, Parts A and B
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, July 11–15, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division and Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4691-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3740-8
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Static mixers are increasingly being used to perform a variety of mixing tasks in industries, ranging from simple blending to complex multi-phase reaction systems. Use of static mixers to process non-Newtonian fluids is quite common. Data on the pressure drop of non-Newtonian fluids in static mixers and the degree of mixing of materials through the mixer are very useful in the design and engineering application of these tools. This paper extends a previous study by the authors on an industrial helical static mixer and illustrates how static mixing processes of single-phase viscous liquids can be simulated numerically. A further aim is to provide an improved understanding of the flow pattern of non-Newtonian single-phase liquids through the mixer. A three-dimensional finite volume simulation is used to study the performance of the mixer. The non-Newtonian fluid is modeled by the Carreau law model for the shear stress. The effects of the Reynolds number of the flow and also properties of non-Newtonian fluids on the static mixer performance have been studied. The flow velocities, pressure drops, etc. are calculated for various flow rates. The computed pressure drop is in good agreement with existing experimental data. A comparison of the mixer performance for both Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids is presented. It is shown that for low Reynolds number flows, the fluid type is less effective on the degree of mixing, while as flow Reynolds number increases and the viscosity decreases, it manifests more influence on the downstream mixing. It is also shown that the fluid type has a major impact on the pressure drop across the mixer.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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