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Agitation is a means whereby mixing of phases can be accomplished and by which mass and heat
transfer can be enhanced between phases or with external surfaces. In its most general sense, the
process of mixing is concerned with all combinations of phases of which the most frequently
occurring ones are
1. gases with gases.
2. gases into liquids: dispersion.
3. gases with granular solids: fluidization, pneumatic conveying, drying.
4. liquids into gases: spraying and atomization.
5. liquids with liquids: dissolution, emulsification, dispersion
6. liquids with granular solids: suspension.
7. pastes with each other and with solids.
8. solids with solids: mixing of powders.
Interactions of gases, liquids, and solids also may take place, as in hydrogenation of liquids in the
presence of a slurred solid catalyst where the gas must be dispersed as bubbles and the solid particles
must be kept in suspension.
Three of the processes involving liquids, numbers 2, 5, and 6, employ the same kind of equipment;
namely, tanks in which the liquid is circulated and subjected to a certain amount of shear. This kind
of equipment has been studied most extensively. Although some unusual cases of liquid mixing may
require pilot plant testing, general rules have been developed with which mixing equipment can be
somewhat satisfactorily
The dimensions of the liquid content of a vessel and the dimensions and
arrangement of impellers, baffles and other internals are factors that influence
the amount of energy required for achieving a needed amount of agitation or
quality of mixing. The internal arrangements depend on the objectives of the
operation: whether it is to maintain homogeneity of a reacting mixture or to
keep a solid suspended or a gas dispersed or to enhance heat or mass transfer.