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A new model of cavern diameter based on a validated CFD study on stirring of a highly shear-thinning fluid

Anna Story and Zdzisław Jaworski

Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Protection Processes, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland



Abstract: Results of numerical simulations of momentum transfer for a highly shear-thinning fluid (0.2% Carbopol) in a stirred tank equipped with a Prochem Maxflo T type impeller are presented. The simulation results were validated using LDA data and both tangential and axial force measurements in the laminar and early transitional flow range. A good agreement between the predicted and experimental results of the local fluid velocity components was found. From the predicted and experimental values of both tangential and axial forces, the power number, Po, and thrust number, Th, were also calculated. Values of the absolute relative deviations were below 4.0 and 10.5%, respectively, for Po and Th, which confirms a satisfactory agreement with experiments. An intensive mixing zone, known as cavern, was observed near the impeller. In this zone, the local values of fluid velocity, strain rate, Metzner–Otto coefficient, shear stress and intensity of energy dissipation were all characterized by strong variability. Based on the results of experimental study a new model using non-dimensional impeller force number was proposed to predict the cavern diameter. Comparative numerical simulations were also carried out for a Newtonian fluid (water) and their results were similarly well verified using LDA measurements, as well as experimental power number values.

Keywords: CFD, Validation, Shear-thinning, Stirring, Cavern, Energy dissipation

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-016-0119-y


Chemical Papers 71 (7) 1255–1269 (2017)

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