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Chapter 3



Lesson Outcomes
At the end of the chapter , students should be able to:
 Explain the concept of mixing and flocculation theory.
 Describe the working principle, characteristics and design
features of the impellers and mixers.
 Sketch the schematic diagram of the impellers and mixers.
 Discuss the efficiency performance of the mixing operations.
 Calculate power dissipation for differences types of mixers.
 Calculate the power requirement and paddle area for a
wastewater flocculator.

3.1 Mixing Theory
 Mixing is a unit operation that distributes the
components of two or more materials among the
materials where in the end produce a single blend of the
 This mixing is accomplished by agitating the materials.
For example,
 Ethyl alcohol and water can be mixed by agitating these
materials using some form of an impeller.
 Sand, gravel, and cement used in the pouring of
concrete can be mixed by putting them in a concrete
batch mixer, the rotation of the mixer providing the

 Why mixing has becomes an important unit operation in any
phase of wastewater treatment?
1. Mixing of one substance completely with another
2. Blending of miscible liquids
3. Flocculation of wastewater particles
4. Continuous mixing of liquid suspensions
5. Heat transfer

 Most of mixing operations in wastewater can be classified as

continuous rapid (less than 30s) or continuous (i.e.,
 Continuous rapid mixing is used, most often, where one
substance is to be mixed with another.

 The principal applications of continuous rapid mixing

are in
1. The blending of chemicals with wastewater (e.g., the
addition of alum or iron salts prior to flocculation and
settling or for dispersing chlorine and hypochlorite
into wastewater for disinfection)
2. The blending of miscible liquids
3. The additions of chemicals to sludge and biosolids to
improve their dewatering characteristics
 Continuous mixing is used where the contents of a
reactor or holding tank or basin must be kept in
suspension, such as in equalization basins, flocculation
basins, suspended growth biological treatment
processes, aerated lagoons, and aerobic digesters.

 Applications of continuous mixing are

1. Flocculation
2. Maintenance of material in suspension.
3.2 Flocculation Theory
 Flocculation is a transport step that brings about the
collisions between the destabilizes particles needed to
form larger particles that can be removed readily by
settling of filtration.

 The purpose of wastewater flocculation is to form

aggregates of flocs from finely divided particles and
from chemically destabilized particles.

 Flocculation typically follows rapid mixing where

chemicals have been added to destabilize the particles.
 Applications of flocculation of wastewater by
mechanical or air agitation are for:

1. Increasing removal of suspended solids and BOD in

primary settling facilities
2. Conditioning wastewater containing certain industrial
3. Improving performance of secondary settling tanks
following the activated-sludge process
4. As a pretreatment step for the filtration of secondary
 There are two types of flocculation:
1. Microflocculation
2. Macroflocculation

Microflocculation Macroflocculation

• Also known as perikinetic flocculation • Also known as orthokinetic flocculation

• Refer to the aggregation of particles brought • Refer to the aggregation of particles brought
about by the random thermal motion fluid about by
molecules. 1. Induced velocity gradients
2. Differential settling
• The random thermal motion of fluid is also • Induces velocity gradients
known as Brownian motion or movement .  Faster-moving particles will over take slower-
moving particles in a velocity field.

• Differential settling
 Large particles overtake smaller particles
during gravity settling.
 When the two particles collide and stick
together, a larger particle is formed.

• The size of particles range from 0.001 to about 1 The size of particles are greater than 1 or 2 μm.
Schematic illustration of the two types of flocculation:

(a) Microflocculation (due to Brownian motion, also known as

perikinetic flocculation)
(b) Macroflocculation (also known as orthokinetic flocculation) due
to fluid shear and differential settling

3.2.1 Energy Dissipation in Mixing and Flocculation
 Mixing with an impeller in a reactor or mixing chamber cause two
actions (circulation and shearing of the fluid).
 The power input per unit volume of liquid (𝑉) can define as a rough
measure of mixing effectiveness, based on the reasoning that more
input creates greater turbulence, and greater turbulence leads to
better mixing.
 Camp and Stein (1943) studied the establishment and effect of velocity
gradients in coagulation tanks of various types has developed the
following equations for use in the design and operation systems with
mechanical mixing devices.

 𝐺= (Eq. 3.1)
 Where G = average velocity gradient, T-1, 1/s
 P = power requirement, W
 µ = dynamic viscosity, N.s/m2
 V = flocculator volume, m3
 The velocity gradient, G is a measure of the average velocity gradient
in the fluid. It used as criteria for effective mixing.
 High G values will be observed near the blades of the mechanical
mixing device, while significantly lower values will be observed at the
distance from the blades of the mixing device.
 The value of G depends on the power input, the viscosity of the fluid
and the volume of the basin.
 Multiply both sides with the detention time,  V yields

G   V P  1 PV

Q V Q  (Eg. 3.2)

 Where  = detention time, s

 Q = flowrate, m3/s

3.3 Types of Impellers
3.3.1 Turbine and Propeller Mixers
 Turbine and propeller mixers are used commonly in
wastewater treatment processes for mixing and blending
of chemicals, for keeping material in suspension, and for

 These mixers are usually constructed with a vertical shaft

driven by a speed reducer and electric motor.

 There are two types of impeller are used for mixing:

1. Radial-flow impellers
2. Axial-flow impellers
Radial flow pattern
Axial flow pattern
Types of Impeller

Types of impellers.
(a) Propellers: (1) guarded; (2) weedless; and (3) standard three-blade.
(b) Paddles: (1) pitched and (2) flat paddle.
(c) Turbines: (1) shrouded blade with diffuser ring; (2) straight blade;
(3) curved blade; and (4) vaned-disk.
 Propellers are impellers in which the direction of the
driven fluid is along the axis of rotation.
 Small propellers turn at around 1150 to 1750 rpm; larger
ones turn at around 400 to 800 rpm. If no slippage occurs
between water and propeller, the fluid would move a
fixed distance axially.
 The ratio of this distance to the diameter of the impeller
is called the pitch.
 A square pitch is one in which the axial distance
traversed is equal to the diameter of the propeller.
 The pitching is obtained by twisting the impeller blade;
the correct degree of twisting induces the axial motion.

 Guarded propeller: There is a circular plate ring encircling
the impeller. The ring guides the fluid into the impeller by
constraining the flow to enter on one side and out of the
other. Thus, the ring positions the flow for an axial travel.
 WeedIess propeller: Called weedless, possibly because it
originally claims no "weed" will tangle the impeller because
of its two-blade design.
 Standard three-blade design : This normally is square

 Pitched paddle is locating the paddles at distances apart.
 Three or four paddles may be pitched on a single shaft;
two and four-pitched paddies being more common.
 The paddles are not twisted as are the propellers.
 They generally rotate at slow to moderate speeds from 20
to I50 rpm.
 Paddle and turbine agitators push the fluid both radially
and tangentially.

@faraziehan Pitched paddle Flat paddle

 Impellers are similar to paddles but are shorter and are called
 They turn at high speeds and their lengths are about only 30 to
50% of the inside diameter of the vessel in which the mixing is
taking place.
 A shroud is a plate added to the bottom or top planes of the
 They are straight and curve-bladed turbines. (2) and (3) have six
 (4) is a disk with six blades attached to its periphery.

@faraziehanblade straight curve vaned-disk
with diffuser ring blade blade
Curved blade turbine Six blade turbine
 Figure shows vaned-disk turbine. As shown in the elevation view on the
left, the blades throw the fluid radially toward the wall thereby
deflecting it up and down.

Flow patterns in rotational mixers

 The arrows also indicate the flow eventually returning back to the
agitator blades - the circulation rate ~ frequency of this return of the
fluid in agitators.
 On the right, the swirling motion is shown. The motion will simply move
in a circumference unless it is broken. The swirling motion does not
contribute to any mixing at all and should be avoided.
 As the tangential velocity is increased, the mass of the swirling fluid
tends to pile up on the wall of the vessel due to the increased
centrifugal force. This is the reason for the formation of vortices.
 The vortex causes the level of water to rise along the vessel wall and to
dip at the center of rotation.
 Swirling can cause a significant change in the operating
conditions and can produce changes in the flow
capacity, power requirements and efficiency.
 It can also result in local vortex-type pressure
reductions that induce air cores extending into the
 This can cause reductions in pump flow and
fluctuations of impeller load which result in noise and
vibration with consequent physical damage.
 Additionally, these fluctuations can impact process
loads in other parts of the system.
 Vortexing causes a reduction in the difference between
the fluid velocity and the impeller velocity. Thus,
decrease the effectiveness of mixing.

 Generally, three methods are used to prevent the formation of swirls and
 putting the agitator eccentric to the vessel.
 using a side entrance to the vessel
 putting baffles along the vessel wall.

 The left side of Figure a shows the agitator to

the right of the vessel center and in an inclined
position; the right side shows the agitator to the
left and in a vertical position.

 Both locations are no longer concentric with the

vessel but eccentric (not placed centrally) to it,
so the circumferential path needed to form the
swirl would no longer exist, thus avoiding the
formation of both the swirl and the vortex.

 Side-entering configuration
 The swirls and vortices
would also be avoided.

 The agitator mounted at the center of the vessel

with four baffles installed on the vessel wall.
 The swirl may initially form close to the center.
 As this swirl propagates toward the wall, its outer
rim will be broken by the baffles, however,
preventing its eventual formation.
3.3.2 Hyperboloid Mixers
 Hyperboloid mixers are used in a variety of applications including:

1. Mixing and blending of chemicals

2. Flocculation
3. Suspension of biosolids in anaerobic and anoxic basins
4. Aeration in activated sludge and n sludge basin

 Design features

1. Designed with a vertical shaft driven by a speed reducer and electric

2. The size of the hyperboloid impeller and the rotational speed depends
on the basin size and geometry.

 Advantage

1. It is being mounted close to the bottom of the tank which allows for
the energy introduction where it is needed to suspend sludge floc.
Figure 5.16 Hyperboloid mixer: (a) schematic and (b) view of mixer (air diffusers
below the mixer have been blanketed off for the mixer to work properly).
3.4 Types of Mixers
a) Used for Continuous Mixing in Wastewater Treatment
 Generally, three types of mixers are used in the
physical-chemical treatment of wastewater:
 Rotational mixers: use a rotating element to
effect the agitation;
 pneumatic mixers : use gas or air bubbles to
induce the agitation;
 hydraulic mixers: utilize for the mixing process
the agitation that results in the flowing of the

i) Rotational Mixers

 Figure is an example of a rotational mixer.

 This type of setup is used to determine the optimum
doses of chemicals.

 Varying amounts of chemicals are

put into each of the six
 The paddles inside each of the
containers are then rotated at a
predetermined speed by means of
the motor sitting on top of the
 This rotation agitates the water
and mixes the chemicals with it.
 The paddles used in this setup
are, in general, called impellers.
Power Dissipation in Rotational Mixers
 A very important parameter in the design of mixers is
the power needed to drive it.

 Power dissipation is power lost due to frictional

resistance and is equal to the power given to it by the

 The power given to the fluid should be dependent on

the various geometric measurements of the vessel.

 These measurements can be conveniently normalized

against the diameter of the impeller, Da to make them
into dimensionless ratios.

 The power given to the fluid should also be dependent
on viscosity μ, density ρ, and rotational speed N.

 The higher the viscosity, the harder it is to push the

fluid, increasing the power required.

 A similar argument holds for the density: the denser

the fluid, the harder it is to push it, thus requiring
more power.

 In addition, the power requirement must also increase

as the speed of rotation is increased.

 Based on the figure , a vortex is being formed, raising the
level of water higher on the wall and lower at the center.
 This rising of the level at one end and lowering at the other
is has to do with the weight of the water.
 Because the weight of any substances is a function of gravity,
the gravity g must enter into the functionality of the power
given to the fluid.
 As a general rule, the higher the velocity and the greater the turbulence,
the more efficient the mixing.
 The following mathematical relationships can be used to estimate the
power requirements for mixing and the pumping capacity of mixer.
Power for mixing
P  N p n3 D5 (Eq. 3.5)

Pumping capacity
Qi  NQ nD3 (Eq. 3.6)

Where P = power input, W, (kg.m2/s3)

Np = power number for impellers, unitless
ρ = density, kg/m3
n = revolutions per second, r/s
D = diameter of impeller, m Qi = pump discharge, m3/s
NQ = flow number for impeller, unitless
 Based on Eq. 3.5 and Eq. 3.6, for a constant input of powers as the
impeller size is increased, more power is expended on flow and
less on turbulence or shear.

Small impeller
1. Operating at a high rotational speed will produce greater fluid
shear and less pumping.
2. Best for dispersing gases or small amounts of chemical in

Large impeller
1. Operating at a slow speed will result in a high pumping capacity
and low fluid shear.
2. Best for blending two fluid streams, or for flocculation.
 Eq. 3.5 applies if the Reynolds number is in the turbulent range (Re > 10,000)
 The Reynolds number is given by

D 2 n
NR 

Where D = diameter of impeller, m
n = rotational speed, rev/s
ρ = mass density of fluid, kg/m3
μ = dynamic viscosity of fluid, N.s/m2
Note N = kg.m/s2
 Let the power be P :

P   ( N , Da , g ,  ,  )
by using dimensional analysis:
 NDa2 Da N 2 
P  N D  
3 5
, 
 
g 
P  NDa2 Da N 2 
 Po    ,    (Re, Fr)
N Da
3 5
  g 

 For laminar flow (Re≤10), the power number, Po is actually a

friction factor in mixing given by
Po  K L  proportionally constant
 The power is

P  K L N 2 Da3 μ (Eq. 3.7)

 At high Reynolds number, friction losses becomes practically
constant. If vortices and swirl are prevented, Re ≥ 10000, power
dissipation is independent of Re and the relationship becomes

Po  KT K T  constant
 The power is

P  KT N 3 Da5  (Eq. 3.8)

 For Reynolds number in the transition range (10 <Re<10000), the
power may be taken as the average:

K L N 2 Da3   KT N 3 Da5 
 N 2 Da3 ( K L   KT NDa2  )
A turbine with six blades is installed centrally in a baffled vessel. The vessel is 2.0 m
in diameter. The turbine, 61 cm in diameter, is positioned 60 cm from the bottom of
the vessel. The tank is filled to a depth of 2.0 m and is mixing alum with raw water
in a water treatment plant. The water is at a temperature of 25°C and the turbine is
running at 100 rpm. What horsepower will be required to operate the mixer?

ii) Pneumatic Mixers

 Diffused aerators may also be used to provide mixing.

 The difference in density between the air bubbles and

water causes the bubbles to rise and to quickly attain
terminal rising velocities.

 As they rise, these bubbles push the surrounding water

just as the impeller in rotational mixers push the
surrounding water creating a pushing force.

 This force along with the rising velocity creates the

power of mixing. It is evident that pneumatic mixing
power is a function of the number of bubbles formed.
 Figure 6.7 shows designs of diffusers used to produce bubbles.
Power Dissipation in Pneumatic Mixers
 The power dissipation is given by

Where Pi = influent absolute pressure of the air

Qi = rate of inflow of air
Pa = atmospheric pressure
γl = specific weight of water

By considering the criterion for effective mixing, the volume of a rapid-mix tank
used to rapidly mix an alum coagulant in a water treatment plant was found to
be 6.28 m3 with a power dissipation of 3.24 hp. Assume air is being provided at
a rate of 0.053 m3/s. Calculate the pressure at which air is forced into the
diffuser. Assume barometric pressure as 101,300 N/m2, the depth from the
surface to the diffuser as 2 m, and the temperature of water as 25°C.

iii) Hydraulic Mixers

 Hydraulic mixers are mixers that use the energy of

a flowing fluid to create the power dissipation
required for mixing.
 This fluid must have already been given the energy
before reaching the point in which the mixing is
 What needs to be done at the point of mixing is
simply to dissipate this energy in such a way that
the correct value of G for effective mixing is

 The hydraulic mixers can be the hydraulic-jump mixer and the weir mixer.


jump Mixer
 Figure shows a hydraulic jump and its schematic.
 By some suitable design, the chemicals to be mixed may be
introduced at the point indicated by “1” in the figure.
 Hydraulic-jump mixers are designed as rectangular in cross

Power Dissipation in Hydraulic Mixers
 The power of mixing is simply power dissipation.
 In any hydraulic process, power or energy is dissipated through
friction. Thus, the power of mixing in any hydraulic mixer can
be determined if the fluid friction hf can be calculated.
 The product of rate of flow Q and specific weight γ is weight
(force) per unit time. If this product is multiplied by hf the
result is power.

 For mixing to be effective, the power derived from this loss

must be such that the G falls within the realm of effective


 The general energy equation may be applied between points 1

and 2 producing

v1 
 The mixing power for hydraulic jumps is W ( y1 )

W is the width of the

channel. As mentioned
before, PhydJump must
have a value that
corresponds to the value
@faraziehan of G that is correct for
effective mixing.

 Referring to the bottom of figure, let L

be the length of the hydraulic jump.
 The volume jump of the hydraulic jump
is simply the volume of the trapezoidal
prism of volume.
 For practical purposes, L may be taken
as equal to 6y2.
 Thus, the volume and detention times


b) Used for Flocculation in Wastewater Treatment

 The principal types of mixers used for flocculation can be

classified as

1. Baffled Static Mixers

2. Paddle Mixers
3. Turbine, propeller, and hyperboloid mixers
i) Baffled Static Mixers

 The liquid to be treated is subjected to a series of flow

reversals in which the direction of flow is changed.
 It can be composed of over and under narrow flow channels,
or the narrow flow channels can be laid out horizontally.
 The head loss cause by frictional resistance offered by the
flow channels and the flow reversals provides the energy for

 Design features
1. The channel spacing is varied to provide a decreasing energy
gradient so that the large floc particles formed toward the
end of the flocculation basin will not be broken apart.
Figure 5.17 Typical mixers used for flocculation in wastewater treatment
facilities: (a) over and under baffled reactor, (b) paddle mixer in baffled tank, (c)
turbine mixer in a baffled tank
i) Paddle Mixers

 It will be used as flocculation devices when coagulants, such

as aluminium or ferric sulfate, and coagulant aids, such as
polyelectrolytes and lime, are added to wastewater or solids
 Paddle flocculator consist of a series of appropriately spaced
paddles mounted on either a horizontal or vertical shaft.
 Flocculation is promoted by gentle mixing brought about by
the slow-moving paddles, rotate the liquid and promote
 Increased particle contact promotes floc growth, but, if the
mixing is too vigorous, the increased shear forces will break
up the floc into smaller particles.
 Agitation should be controlled carefully so that the floc
particles will be of suitable size and will settle readily.
 Power in a mechanical paddle system can be related to the
drag force on the paddles.

CD Av 2p (Eq. 3.3)

FD 
CD Av3p (Eq. 3.4)
P  FD v p 

iii) Turbine, Propeller and Hyperboloid Flocculators
 The rotating element of turbine-and propeller-type
flocculators consists of 3 or 4 blades attached to a vertical
 The hyperboloid-type flocculator consists of a hyperboloid
shaped mixer body that has 8 integrated so-called motion fins.
 The flocculator is driven with an external gear reduction
system powered with a variable-speed drive. The blades of
the propeller may be rectangular in shape or have the shape
of a hydrofoil.
 Blades shape as hydrofoils or hyperboloid impellers are used
to limit the amount of floc shearing while at the same time
providing the velocity gradients and pumping capacity needed
for mixing.
 In sizing turbine, propeller, or hyperboloid flocculator, both
the power and the pumping requirements must be considered.
iii) Turbine, Propeller and Hyperboloid Flocculators (Cont.)

 In addition, the tip speed and the superficial velocity must

also be considered.
 The required power and the pumping capacity can be
estimated using Eq. 3.5 & Eq. 3.6.
 In wastewater flocculation, if variable-speed drives are
provided for the flocculators (considering the minimum G
required to keep particles in suspension), the mixer speed can
be adjusted to optimize flocculation and energy use.
1. Metcalf & Eddy, AECOM (2014). Wastewater Engineering: Treatment and
Reuse. (5th ed.). McGraw Hill International.
2. Sincero, A. P. & Sincero, G. A. (2003). Physical-chemical Treatment of Water
and Wastewater. (1st ed.). USA: CRC Press.
3. Davis, M. L. (2011). Water and Wastewater Engineering: Design Principles
and Practice. (Inter. ed.). New York: McGraw Hill