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Author: Anup Kumar Swain (515CH8005)

Department of Chemical Engineering, NIT, Rourkela
CFD simulation is carried out for low clearance Rushton turbine in stirred tank with and without draft tube to study the hydrodynamic and mixing
characteristics. The Commercial CFD software ANSYS Fluent 13 is used to perform simulation. The stirred tank is discretized to fine unstructured
mesh of size approximately 900000. The Sliding mesh approach is used for modeling the interaction between impeller and baffles. The realizable k-
turbulence model is used to model the turbulence. The result predicted by simulation compared with experimental data from literature and it is
found that the axial velocity is in good agreement. While radial, tangential velocities and turbulence intensity is disagreed with experiment result.
The mixing time predicted by CFD simulation for both stirred tank with and without draft tube is reasonably matched with theoretical value. The
stirred tank with draft tube is taken less time by 25% with respect to tank without draft tube to achieve 95% level of homogeneity.

Introduction: Hydrodynamics Behavior:

Stirred tank reactors are widely used in chemical and allied industries. In 0.33T, typical double loop circulation is formed. This is responsible for the
One or more impellers equipped within it to generate desired flow and
formation of undesirable segregation regions in stirred tank, which increased
mixing. The performance of stirred tank reactor depends on many
the mixing time (Figure 2(a)). In 0.15T, typical two loop circulation is changed
parameters such as impeller types, location and size of impellers,
to single loop circulation with partial suppression of lower loop (Figure2(b)).
aspect ratio of reactor tank and degree of baffling (Joshi et al., 2011).
while, In 0.15T-DT, the circulation flow is in more orderly form than in 0.15T
The most of the work reported were carried out with impeller bottom
(Figure 2(c)).
clearance (C) as one third of the tank diameter (T) (Figure 1). when the
impeller bottom clearance is less or equal to 0.15 of the tank diameter
is called low impeller clearance stirred tank. Hence the objective is to Figure 2: Vector
study hydrodynamic and mixing characteristics of stirred tank reactor plots of velocity ,
with low impeller clearance. a) 0.33T b) 0.15T
c) 0.15T-DT
Stirred Tank Configuration:

In Figure 3, simulation profile show good agreement with experiment data.

As we move above from bottom, the axial velocity decreases in tank. This
occurs due to impeller discharge stream inclination with respect to
horizontal direction.

Figure 3: Axial
velocity profile in
0.15T tank at
Figure 1: Tank geometry a) side view b) top view (Ochieng et al. 2008)
different radial
The CFD simulations are carried out for baffled stirred tank (Ochieng et al. position
2008) with diameter (T) equal to the liquid height (H) as shown in Figure 1.
The working fluid is water. The diameter of cylindrical tank is T = 290mm. Figure 4 shows the use of draft tube results in increase of axial velocity
The impeller has a six blade Rushton turbine of diameter D = 0.33T with a inside the draft tube especially in the zones above the impeller. The zero
blade width (W) of 0.1T. The tank is simulated using low bottom value of velocity at r/R = 0.7 represents the position of draft tube.
clearance, Ci = 0.15T. The draft tube diameter is d = 0.7T and bottom and
top clearance is 0.15T. The both with and without draft tube stirred tank Figure 4:
configurations is denoted as 15DT and 15T respectively. Comparision of
axial velocity
CFD Modeling: profile in tank
The CFD modeling is performed using Ansys Fluent. The RANS ( with and without
Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes) equation is solved to obtain velocity draft tube
field inside stirred tank. The Reynolds averaged continuity and momentum
equation is as follow (ANSYS 13: User manual) Mixing Behavior:
The mixing time at the particular location is considered as the required time
t xi
ui = 0 when the measured concentration of tracer reached within 95% of the steady
state concentration at the same location. The Figure 5 shows the mixing time
ui + x ui uj = x + x
ui + uj 2 ij ul + ui uj `
t j i j xj xi 3 xl xj at different positions.
where ui is instantaneous velocity and is decomposed into mean velocity
(ui ) and fluctuating velocity (ui). Figure 5: Mixing
The turbulence kinetic energy, k, and its rate of dissipation, , is Time at different
obtained from the following transport equations (ANSYS 13: User points

k +
kui = + t + Gk + Gb + Sk
xi xj k xj From Figure 5, the minimum dimensionless mixing time is obtained in the
t t
tank with draft (approximately 25.75) than the tank without
+ ui = + + C1 k Gk + C3 Gb C2 + S
xi xj xj k draft (approximately 34.8). The use of draft tube reduces the mixing
mixing process can be modeled by solving the conservation time by approximately of 25% compared to the tank without draft
equation for the tracer, that is tube. This reduction in mixing time is due to relatively more
c suppression of lower circulation loop and smaller loop present in
+ ui c + J = Ri
t upper part of the tank away from impeller.
The computational domain is discretized in 900000 mesh cells. The Conclusions:
rotating action of impeller is model using sliding mesh approach. The At low impeller clearance, the suppression of lower circulation loop helps
impeller is rotated at 300 rpm. The no-slip condition is applied at all to minimize the segregation region and mixing time
stationary walls of tank and symmetry condition is applied on top wall In the presence of draft tube, the axial velocity slightly increase in the
of the tank. The second order transient solver is selected with first order draft tube, which decreases mixing time by 26% compared to tank in
upwind difference discretization scheme for the convective terms. The absence of draft tube.
SIMPLEC (Semi-Implicit Method for Pressure Linked Equation References
Consistent) algorithm is used to couple pressure and momentum Joshi, J., Nere, N., Rane, C., Murthy, B., Mathpati, C., Patwardhan, A. and Ranade, V.
equation. The time step is taken as 0.005 second and there is 30 (2011) CFD simulation of stirred tanks: comparison of turbulence models. Part I: radial flow
impellers, The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol. 89, pp. 23-82.
iteration per time step which is enough to converge the solution at each Ochieng, A., Onyango, M.S., Kumar, A., Kiriamiti, K. and Musonged, P. (2008) Mixing in a
time step. The root mean square residuals for all transport equation is tank stirred by a Rushton turbine at a low clearance, Chemical Engineering and
set to 0.0001. Processing, Vol. 47, pp. 842-851.
Ansys 13 (2011) User Manual, ANSYS USA, pp. 834-836.
Chemical Engineering @ NIT Rourkela