Dynamics of the Flow Pattern in a Baffled Mixing Vessel with an Axial Impeller

O. Brůha, T. Brůha, I. Fořt, M. Jahoda


This paper deals with the primary circulation of an agitated liquid in a flat-bottomed cylindrical stirred tank. The study is based on experiments, and the results of the experiments are followed by a theoretical evaluation. The vessel was equipped with four radial baffles and was stirred with a six pitched blade impeller pumping downwards. The experiments were concentrated on the lower part of the vessel, where the space pulsations of the primary loop, originated due to the pumping action of the impeller. This area is considered to be the birthplace of the flow macroinstabilities in the system – a phenomenon which has been studied and described by several authors. The flow was observed in a vertical plane passing through the axis of the vessel. The flow patterns of the agitated liquid were visualized by means of Al micro particles illuminated by a vertical light knife and scanned by a digital camera. The experimental conditions corresponded to the turbulent regime of agitated liquid flow.It was found that the primary circulation loop is elliptical in shape. The main diameter of the primary loop is not constant. It increases in time and after reaching a certain value the loop disintegrates and collapses. This process is characterized by a certain periodicity and its period proved to be correlated to the occurrence of flow macroinstability. The instability of the loop can be explained by a dissipated energy balance.  When the primary loop reaches the level of disintegration, the whole impeller power output is dissipated and under this condition any flow alteration requiring additional energy, even a very small vortex separation, causes the loop to collapse. 


mixing; axial impeller; primary circulation loop; oscillation; macroinstability

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague