Investigation of turbulent flows and instabilities in a stirred vessel using particle image velocimetry
Extensive use of stirred vessels in the process industries for various operations has attracted researchers to study the mixing mechanisms and its effects on the processes. Among the various flow-measuring methods, Particle Image Velocimetry (PlV) technique has become more popular in comparison to LDA and HW A methods because of its ability to provide instantaneous velocity fields. The present study uses this technique to investigate the flowfields and turbulent properties in a 290mm vessel stirred by Rushton Disc turbine (RDT) and Pitched blade turbine (PBT) impellers. Angle-resolved instantaneous flow-fields were obtained using 2-D and 3-D PlV technique. Flows in the RDT were examined. The distribution of out-of-plane vorticity and turbulent properties such as rms velocities, Reynolds stresses and turbulent kinetic energy was discussed. The flow number and power number of the RDT impeller were obtained as 0.83 and 5.16 respectively. Flows generated by the PBT impeller were examined in more detail. For this purpose, a multiblock approach was developed which allowed analysing larger fields of view with reasonably higher resolution. Whole vessel was thus mapped and various turbulent properties were examined. The mean flow-fields, out-of-plane vorticity and turbulent properties such as Reynolds stresses, turbulent kinetic energy and turbulent energy dissipation rates were estimated at different angle of blade rotation. The variation of the trailing vortex axis was obtained. The pumping number and power number ofPBT impeller was obtained as 0.86 and 1.52 respectively. Using this information, an integral length scales were estimated using 2-D FFT autocorrelation, which showed that these length scales vary significantly through out the vessel. It is demonstrated that assuming constant length scale through out the vessel could underestimate dissipation rate up to 25% in the impeller discharge. A kinetic energy balance was carried out around the PBT blades. It is shown that around 44% of the total power consumed by the impeller is dissipated within the impeller. The average rate of dissipation of kinetic energy was 39 times higher in the impeller region than the average dissipation rate in the vessel. Using LDA and PIV techniques, macro-instabilities (Ml) were studied. Spectral analysis was done using LOMB algorithm, which showed the presence of a dimensionless frequency of O.013-0.0174N in the RDT and PBT impellers. The frequency of Ml varied linearly with the impeller speed. The maximum broadening of turbulence levels due to the presence of Ml was around 20% for the PBT and 18% for the RDT impeller. The effect of mixing on the feed locations was studied using PlV measurements. Results showed that there is no direct effect of feed coming out of the feed pipe on the flow distribution, however, due to feed pipe, there was a wake formation close to the feed pipe. The low Reynolds number in the wake can affect local mixing conditions close to the feed pipe. At the end, angle-resolved Reynolds stresses were calculated and was noticed that flows in the vessel were isotropic in the bulk of the vessel however, anisotropic flow was noticed in the impeller stream.