Flow characteristics in mixers agitated by helical ribbon blade impeller

Yeng-Yung Tsui*, Yu Chang Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The main concern of this study is to investigate the flow mixing generated by helical ribbon blade impellers and to show that with the help of CFD the performance of the mixing system can be significantly improved by optimizing the geometric configuration of the impeller. To fulfill this objective, a numerical model is developed to solve the Navier-Stokes equations for the flow field. However, difficulties arise due to the rotation of the impeller in the vessel. In order to ease the problem, the velocity field is assumed to be in a quasi-steady state and the multiframe of reference is adopted to tackle the rotation of the impeller. For discretization the fully conservative finite volume method, together with unstructured grid technology, is incorporated. It is shown that the flow in the mixer can be regarded as a flow in an open channel with a wall moving at an angle with respect to the channel. The influences of the blade pitch, the blade width, and the clearance gap between the blade and the surrounding wall are examined. The mechanism to cause these effects is delineated in detail. It is demonstrated that after optimization of the blade geometry, the circulating flow rate induced by the impeller is largely increased, leading to significant reduction in mixing time. In addition, the power demand is reduced. It is also evidenced that by enlarging the clearance, it is difficult for the fluid in this region to be mixed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-429
Number of pages14
JournalEngineering Applications of Computational Fluid Mechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Helical ribbon blade impellers
  • Mixing flows
  • Multiframe of reference
  • Stirred mixers
  • Unstructured-grid methods

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