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How Processing Steps and Conditions Affect Agitator Design

Julian B. Fasano, DE, PE Mixer Engineering Company

ISPE New Jersey Chapter Day June 16, 2005 Holiday Inn, Somerset, NJ
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Pressure: Design vs. Operating vs. Specified

Mixer seals mostly mechanical Designed for operating pressure If design pressure>>operating pressure:
may not function properly or have shorter than expected life.

Specify normal operating

pressure with possible excursions seals can be upgraded at a later time


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VF Drives
VF drives require inverter duty
Include in specifications High efficiency to reduce low speed heat generation

Locked rotor torque with an

inverter only about 20% of across the line locked rotor torque
Important for startup in settled solids Important for startup in some thixotropic fluids
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Addition Sequence - Solids Added First

Specify addition sequence and quantities When solids are added first, start-up difficult,
requires special design considerations.
Start-up torque can be 5-10 times normal operating torque depends on the behavior of the solids High hydraulic loads are placed on the shaft and impellers all mechanical components must be oversized to handle this condition More economical design can be produced if solids are added after the liquid.

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Insertion Restrictions
Impeller(s) and shaft need to be inserted into

the tank Identify the size and geometry of the opening through which impeller components must pass Ideal to discuss this first with one or more vendors before finalizing the vessel design Some smaller vessels use body flanges which can be used to insert and assembly shaft and impeller components Be sure to specify this opening on your RFQ

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Dip tubes Inlet or discharge piping Heating/cooling coils Headroom restrictions Thermowells Level instrumentation Other instrumentation pH, DO

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Properly Design the Mixer Support System

An agitator can apply a large bending
moment to the support structure. Ask for a recommendation from the mixer vendor for an adequate support system Vendors can supply information the tank vendor will require. Ask for:
Bending moment Torque Agitator weight

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Solids Addition to Liquid

Solids addition rate
High rate difficult for hard to wet solids can determine in lab test High rate when dumped in bulk hard on impeller and shaft

Rate can influence impeller

selection Wet-ability can influence impeller selection

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Abrasive Solids
Predetermined maximum
velocity? Erosion rate proportional to velocity to the 4th power. High efficiency impellers do better in abrasive solids service Running at higher impeller diameters and lower speeds will reduce the tip speed required to provide equal flow.
HE-3 Blade Top @ 1hr

HE-3 Blade Bottom @ 1hr

P-4 Blade Top @ 1hr

P-4 Blade Bottom @ 1hr Mixer Engineering Co.


Addition Sequence - Reactive Systems

Specify sequence, feed rates and concentrations Identify whether or not there are any selectivity
issues (competitive or competitive-consecutive reactions)
Blend time is very important and scale up can be very difficult Selectivity issues can produce unwanted products (stereoisomer example)

Identify if gas is a by-product

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Operation Near the Boiling Point

Identify the proximity to the boiling point Impellers cavitate near the boiling point Cavitating impellers lose pumping capability Some impellers are better for near-boiling systems, especially wide blade hydrofoils such as the Chemineer Maxflo W impeller.

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Addition Location
Influences blend time
Best location at suction of impeller Alternate location on surface near center Worst location at discharge of impeller

Competitive or competitive-consecutive
Influences selectivity

High addition rates

Influences impeller flow pattern
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Operation at the Liquid Level (Liquid Level at the Impeller)

Hydraulic side loads are dramatically increased
when an impeller is operated at the liquid level Standard design will accommodate < hr/day at the liquid level Longer times at the liquid level may require a larger shaft and/or thicker impeller blades Be sure to identify to the mixer vendor extended operation at the liquid level.

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Non-Newtonian Fluid Behavior

Shear dependent fluids
Shear thinning fluids pseudoplastic Shear thickening fluids dilatent

Yield value fluids

Requires a certain minimum stress to move the fluid Outside of the minimum stress area fluid stagnant

Elastic fluids
Characteristics: shaft climbing effect; reverse rotation on shut-down If inertial forces cannot overcome the elastic forces affects power blending and flow pattern.
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Time Independent Fluids Oswald-de-Waele or Power Law Model

= K & n a = K & n - 1
where = shear stress K = Consistency index n = flow behavior index & = shear rate a = apparent viscosity if n = 1, Newtonian n < 1, pseudoplastic n > 1, dilatent
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Pitched Blade Impeller

Chemineer P-4 Impeller

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Pseudoplastic Flow Behavior

P-4 Impeller, D/T=1/3, C/T=1/3, Z/T=1.06, NRe=700
Max. Velocity = 222 ft/min Max. Velocity = 166 ft/min Max. Velocity = 216 ft/min

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n=power law index

Viscoelastic Effects

Shaft climbing effect Mixer reverses after power cut Flow can be reversed

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Non-Newtonian Fluid Behavior - Viscoelastic Fluids Flow Behavior

Normal Flow Elastic Forces<< Inertial Forces

Reversed Flow Elastic Forces >> Inertial Forces

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Viscoelastic - Shaft Climbing Effect

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Yield Value Fluid Flow Behavior

Non-moving zone

Mixed zone Insufficient energy input to move entire tank contents

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Possible Solutions for Yield Value Fluids

Example: T=100 in, SS=120 in, Z=100 in =5000 mPas, o=60 dynes/cm2

2 Hp, 30 rpm, (1) 52 P4 Mixer Engineering Co.

2 Hp, 30 rpm, (2) 46 P4

15 Hp, 68 rpm, (1) 52 P4


Gas Dispersion
Specify the sequence Specify rates, liquid levels and
Number of impellers Types of impellers Location of impellers

Sparger type/location
Ring type preferred below dispersing impeller Vertical dip tube outside impeller region Horizontal tube beneath impeller
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Gas Dispersion (continued)

Required mass transfer (mass transfer limited) Pressure feed (y or n)
If yes, upper impeller location important If yes , upper impeller style important

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Heat Transfer
If heating or cooling required
Define jacketed surfaces Straight side Bottom head Coils size, pitch, banks, overall length, location Vertical Tubes number, size, location Required process side coefficient including the fouling coefficient Thermal and physical properties of fluid Viscosity (viscosity versus temperature) Thermal conductivity Heat capacity
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Shear Sensitive Materials

Maximum shear rate or
tip speed Influences types of impellers used
Avoid impellers which strong shedding vortices Tends to favor high efficiency impellers

Impellers tend to be
larger and speeds slower
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Chemineer HE-3

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Thanks to Chemineer, Inc. who sponsored this presentation. For a review of all Chemineer products see

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Contact Information
Julian B. Fasano, DE, PE Mixer Engineering Company 269 Scott Dr. Englewood, OH 45322 937-836-7200 Cell 937-672-7739 Email:
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Recommended Reading
22 Chapters, 1375

pages 43 Contributors All proceeds go to NAMF (North American Mixing Forum or AIChE) Published by WileyInterscience

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