Visualization software uncovers secrets of high-shear mixing

March 18, 2004
Researchers at the University of Maryland use laser-doppler anemometry to measure velocities of a rotor and material in a mixing vat, and then verify results with a CFD (computational fluid-dynamics) program.
Two researchers from the high-shear mixing program are standing in a Cave, a visualization room. Acuitiv software will let researchers see inside a mixing vat by showing values calculated by the CFD program, such as streamlines and high-shear areas.

CFD visualization software, from Acuitiv Software, Batavia, Ill, (, will postprocess the CFD results and project them onto large screens. The goal is to better understand fluid complexities in rotor-stator mixers and their effect when making foods, pharmaceuticals, health and beauty products, and commodities such as paints.

Researchers in the High Shear Mixing Research Program will use data from the laser measurements to develop and validate CFD code that can gauge equipment performance and predict power consumption. "The CFD-visualization software will play a role in developing protocols and analysis techniques so the chemical-process industry can improve performance, and mixing vendors can improve equipment design," says Richard V. Calabrese, research director of the mixing research program.

The research will also lead to performance criteria for at least one class of rotor-stator devices, and it will be a basis for writing guidelines for designing mixing equipment. High-shear mixers are used in the chemical industry for product emulsions, dispersions, and to control particle size.
-- Paul Dvorak

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