What is mixing (or blending)?

– Mixing is a unit operation in which a relatively uniform mixture is obtained from two or more components. Mixing has no preservative effect (on food) but is meant only as a processing aid, though in some cases mixing is required to promote some other objective such as mass transfer or chemical reaction. The degree of uniformity achievable varies widely. It is easy to achieve virtually complete homogeneity when mixing miscible liquids or mixing a soluble solids into a liquid, but it can be difficult to achieve a homogeneous result when mixing two solids, mixing two highly viscous liquids, or mixing items with widely varying densities, especially if the amount of one component is very small compared to the amounts of the others. The efficiency of mixing depends on the efficient use of energy to generate flow of the components. Important aspects in the design of a mixer include: -- provision of adequate input energy (for an appropriate time) -- design of the mechanism for introducing the energy -- properties of the components How can the degree of mixing be quantified? You would expect small samples taken from various locations in the container at the start of mixing to contain close to 100% of either one or another of the components, so a plot of composition as a function of sample location would be very uneven. As mixing proceeds, successive plots of the composition of samples taken from these same locations should become more uniform. Ideally, when mixing is complete all samples should contain the same percent of the each ingredient as the percent of that ingredient added to the vessel at the start. What size sample should be taken? It should be large enough so the required amount of the smallest ingredient is easily measured, yet small enough so that you are confident that the quantities normally used will contain the ingredients in the required concentration (for example, pack size or less). [See Reilly et al, 1994, Sections 1.3 and 3] The "standard deviation", , provides a satisfactory way of quantifying the extent to which the fractional concentration of a component scatters about its mean value in the various samples. The subscript m has been added as a reminder that these measures change with the mixing time.

2 ) would equal zero. The subscript m has been added to the indices in the equations below as a reminder that the indices change with the mixing time. Each one is based on measurements of standard deviations from the mean. Note: 2 is called the variance of the Many different mixing indices may be used to monitor the extent of mixing and to compare alternative types of equipment. (or mixture.where xm (with an over-bar) is the mean fractional concentration xi = the fractional concentration of the component in the i-th sample n = the number of samples taken For a perfect mix. .

where = standard deviation at the start (time = 0) m = standard deviation at time = t m = standard deviation of a "completely random" sample ( can be taken as zero for mixtures of liquids and for solids where the particle size is very small relative to the sample size) 0 .

you can compute the goal mixing index (Mgoal) from the standard deviation that would be acceptable (to your customer.94 to >0. the mixing index will decrease with mixing time according to the relationship ln M = . Fellows suggests calculating all three and then using the most appropriate one (see Sample Problem 5. 3. and/or at comparatively low mixing rates. 2000. How long should ingredients be mixed? For mixing indices 1.k tm where k is the mixing rate constant [1/s] and tm is mixing time [s]. M4 is a simplified index.96 >0. Once you have obtained k you can to calculate the required mixing time to get to the desired (goal) mixing index from tgoal = .= mean concentration of the samples np = the number of particles in the sample Vc = volume fraction or mass fraction of a component in the mixture The first three mixing indices are described in Fellows.80 to 0.70 to 0. M2 is more likely to be suitable when a small amount of one component is mixed with a large amount of another.90 0.70 0. The rate constant k can be obtained by taking and analysing samples after various mixing times. or at high mixing rates. and its slope is -k.96 M5 is an index recommended by Reilly et al (1994) after reviewing nine different mixing indices Whichever formulation of M you elect to use. This should be a straight line. and plotting ln M vs mixing time.98 0. The following table shows what values of this index are found for bad through excellent homogeneity: Quality of Mixture Bad Unsatisfactory Fairly good Good Very good Excellent: For granular materials For fluids M4 0. 2.94 0.90 to 0. and 5.(1 / k) ln Mgoal .1.80 0. for example) for samples taken from the final mixture.1. M1 and M3 may be more suitable when approximately equal masses are mixed. Section 5.1 in Fellows).

81 m / s2) These dimensionless numbers are related by the equation: Po = K (Re)n (Fr)m where K. The density of a mixture may be computed by the addition of the component densities: m = V1 1 + V2 2 . which are found by experiment. It can be ignored for Reynold's Number below about 300. n. and m are constants related to the geometry of the agitator. The Froude number accounts for the effects of gravitational forces and is only relevant when the liquid surface is disturbed by the propeller. Calculation of power requirement for mixing Liquid flow is defined by a series of dimensionless numbers: The Reynold's Number: Re = (D2 N The Froude Number: Fr = (D N2) / g The Power Number: Po = P / ( m m) / m N3 D5) where P = power transmitted to the agitator (kW) 3 m = density of the mixture (kg / m ) 2 m = viscosity of the mixture (N s / m ) D = agitator diameter (m) N = agitator speed (rev / s) g = acceleration due to gravity (9. Theory of liquids mixing Many mixing situation involve a rotary impellor.Earle (1983) also discusses use of a "mixing index" to examine the thoroughness of mixing and rates of mixing. For successful mixing. both the radial and the longitudinal velocities are maximised by the use of baffles or by the positioning or orientation of the agitator. so we speak in terms of radial (outward from the axis of rotation) and longitudinal (along the direction of the rotor shaft) component velocities in liquids being mixed.

Mixing of low and moderate viscosity liquids Turbulence should be induced to entrain slow-moving parts within faster-moving parts.Reynolds numbers should be the same in the large tank as in the small. and liquid should be circulated through this region as much as possible. Equipment for Mixing Liquids Types of mixers for low viscosity liquids include: Paddle agitators: (See Brennan Fig 5. Turbulence is highest near the impeller. A vortex should be avoided because adjoining layers of circulating liquids travel at a similar speed and entrainment does not take place -.5 2 V2 / [V1 ( 1 + 2)] Full use of this theory is very long and involved.1 for diagrams) .where 1 and 2 are the densities of the components V1 and V2 are the volume fractions of the components The viscosity of a mixture may be computed from the viscosities of the ingredients using the following equations for baffled and unbaffled mixers: Baffled: Unbaffled: m = m 1 V1 2 V2 = m (1 + 1.it becomes more complex when the non-Newtonian behaviour of food materials is taken into account. Scaling a mixing operation When changing the scale of equipment with the goal of obtaining the same mixing performance at the new scale: (i) Geometric similarity should be preserved -.dimensional ratios should be the same in the large tank as in the small. and not commonly used in practice.the liquids simply rotate around the mixer. Note: The above analysis is correct for Newtonian fluids only -. (ii) Dynamic similarity should be preserved -. What is more commonly required is the "scale up" of a mixing process from pilot to full commercial scale.

with vertical flow often being set up by the deflection of currents from the vessel walls vaned disc impellers may be used to disperse gases in liquids particularly effective in moderately viscous liquids Propeller agitators: (See Brennan Fig 5. or inclined at an angle (even horizontally through the wall) some typical designs: Other types of impeller agitator: • • a wide range of specialist impellers may be designed for specific duties pumps may also be used for some mixing tasks Mixing vessels: • • generally circular with rounded bottoms to minimise "dead spots" depth to diameter ratio normally 0. measuring 30 to 50% of the vessel diameter commonly rotate at speeds of 30 to 500 rpm baffles and pitched blades may be used in a similar way as with paddles velocity of the liquid relatively high and currents travel throughout the vessel. an impeller should be installed for each vessel diameter of height Mixing of high viscosity pastes and plastic solids .3 for diagrams) • • • • • • • impeller has more than four blades in same plane of rotation generally smaller than paddles. but best not mounted centrally. little vertical flow baffling often used to reduce swirling and vortexing pitched blades may be used to increase vertical flow multivane or gate agitators used for more viscous fluids.5 for diagrams) • • • • short bladed impellers (usually less than 25% of vessel diameter) rotating at high speeds (500 to several thousand rpm) produce primarily longitudinal and rotational velocities can be effective in quite large vessels with low viscosity liquids.5 to 1. and anchor paddles used to just clear vessel walls to promote heat transfer and minimise deposits.• • • • • • • • speeds normally in the range of 20 to 50 rpm commonly paddles measure half to three quarters the diameter of the vessel with width of the blades one tenth to one sixth of their length high radial and rotational components. counterrotating multiblade paddles may be used to develop high localised shear easy to fabricate single blade paddles often used for gentle mixing action with sensitive materials Turbine agitators: (See Brennan Fig 5. If tall vessels are used.5 (1 often recommended).

mechanical action is required for dough development the general principle is that mixing performance depends on direct contact of the mixing element and the material flow in the material is laminar. by means of screw conveyors. Dynamic in-line mixers use a combination of pump pressure and a high speed rotating element . Various designs of mixing elements may be used Horizontal trough mixers (kneaders. grids. often following tangential or interlocking paths See http://www. normally with only small clearance from the pan wall. and further acted on mechanically by being forced through or past obstructions.html Blades vary in design. for example. masticators): Pairs of heavy horizontal blades rotate in a trough.• • • • • uniform mixing may not be the only aim. In the rotating pan mixer the mixing vessel is mounted on a rotating turntable.. folding unmixed food into the mixed part. dispersers. but a common design is the Z-blade or sigma element: Continuous paste mixers: A common principle is to force material through obstructions such as perforated plates.com/dblarm. tumbling. The mixing elements rotate in a fixed position near the pan wall. The material is kneaded and sheared between the screws and the walls of a trough. visiting all parts of the mixing pan. Other devices: A variety of other devices may be used such as passing materials between rollers.littleford. and combined cutting/milling and mixing. meshes. etc. In-line mixers: Large volume operations are increasingly using continuous "in-line" mixing methods. and shearing to stretch the material Pan mixers: In the stationary pan mixer the mixing elements move in a planetary path. not turbulent the material must be brought to the mixing elements or the mixing elements must travel to all parts of the vessel mixing occurs by kneading the material against the vessel wall or against other material.

if adequate power is not available as the mixture thickens. Dilatant materials increase in consistency with increasing shear rate. etc. • • • Pseudoplastic materials decrease in consistency with increasing shear rate. For example bread doughs require a folding and stretching action to shear the material . For example sauces may form a zone of thinned material around a small agitator so that the bulk of the fluid does not move at all. For example corn-flour mixtures and chocolate need to be mixed with care.htm Note: Most liquid foods are non-Newtonian . See Sulzer Chemtech's page for Static Mixers & Heat Exchangers. Viscoelastic materials exhibit a mixture of viscous and elastic properties including stress relaxation. at http://www.. may be damaged. or corrugated plates. A variety of forms are used: helices.com/n_proserv. vanes.sulzerchemtech.their consistency changes with rate of shear. drive mechanisms. and recoil. creep.Static in-line mixers utilise the movement of materials passing over specially contoured stationary mixing elements located in a tubular housing which serves as part of the pipeline.