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Beyond Simple Mixing

By Christine Banaszek, Charles Ross & Son Co. |

Five different examples are presented in which specialty mixers are used to perform tasks more efficiently than conventional approaches Specialty mixers serve a vast range of applications throughout the chemical process industries (CPI). The approach to mixer selection invariably starts with examining the different phases to be combined (solid/liquid, liquid/liquid, semi-solid/liquid, gas/liquid and so on). Considering the miscibility of the various raw materials, it’s easy to see how the underlying objective — uniformity — is easier to achieve in some mixing operations more than others. Apart from miscibility, various other application factors impose challenges to mixing. These include non-Newtonian behavior, agglomeration, sensitivity to shear, temperature-related degradation and competing chemical reactions, just to name a few. Uniformity is intrinsically a necessary condition in many unit operations such that specialty mixers frequently take on challenges well beyond mixing per se. For the purpose of this article, specialty mixers are those classes of mixing equipment capable of more than simple agitation of miscible low-viscosity liquids. Off-the-shelf propellers, turbines and similar low-speed agitators are thus excluded.…
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