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Effect of Low Off-Bottom Impeller Clearance on the

Minimum Agitation Speed for Complete Suspension in
Stirred Tanks

Article  in  Chemical Engineering Science · May 1998

DOI: 10.1016/S0009-2509(98)00001-3

83 471

2 authors, including:

Piero M. Armenante
New Jersey Institute of Technology


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Chemical Engineering Science, Vol. 53, No. 9, pp. 1757—1775, 1998
( 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved
Printed in Great Britain
PII: S0009–2509(98)00001–3 0009—2509/98 $19.00#0.00

Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance

on the minimum agitation speed for
complete suspension of solids in stirred
Piero M. Armenante* and Ernesto Uehara Nagamine
Department of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Environmental Science, New Jersey
Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ 07102-1982, U.S.A.

(Received 13 January 1997; accepted 31 October 1997)

Abstract—Considerable attention has been devoted in the past to the determination of the
minimum agitation speed, N , required to just suspend solids in mechanically stirred tanks.
However, the effect of the impeller off-bottom clearance has not been well established, parti-
cularly when the impeller is positioned very close to the tank bottom. This investigation is
focused on the determination of the minimum agitation speed and power dissipation required
to completely suspend solid particles in tanks provided with impellers having small clearances
off the tank bottom. Four types of impellers were used: six-blade disc turbines, six-blade
flat-blade turbines, six-blade (45°) pitched-blade turbines, and Chemineer HE-3 impellers. The
effects of the impeller diameter, tank diameter, particle diameter, and physical variables were
also studied. Modified correlations based on the Zwietering equation (Zwietering, T. N. (1958)
Chem. Engng Sci. 8, 244—253) were obtained to account for the effect of impeller clearance and
impeller diameter-to-tank diameter ratio on N . ( 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights

Keywords: Solids suspension; impeller clearance; minimum agitation speed; power consump-
tion; power dissipation; radial impellers; axial impellers; mixing.

1. INTRODUCTION Myers and Fasano, 1992, Myers et al., 1994a, b;

Mixing of liquid slurries containing finely divided Armenante and Li, 1993; Aravinth et al., 1996).
solid particles in mechanically agitated tanks and The impeller clearance off the tank bottom is one of
the important parameters affecting N . This was rec-
reactors is one of the most common operations in the js
chemical process industry. In many cases it is impor- ognized even in pioneering studies on the subject
tant to provide enough agitation to completely sus- (Zwietering, 1958; Nienow, 1968). In the vast majority
of cases however, the dependence of N on impeller
pend the solids off the tank bottom. Below this off- js
bottom particle suspension state the total solid—liquid clearance was not fully quantified, or was only ex-
interfacial surface area is not completely or efficiently pressed in a graphical form and for a limited number
utilized, and above this speed the solid—liquid mass of impellers. Typically, correlations incorporating this
transfer rate increases slowly with agitation intensity. dependence have not been presented. In addition,
little information on N is available in the literature
Therefore, it is important to be able to determine the js
impeller agitation speed, N , at which the just- when the impeller is placed very close to the tank
js bottom. This is a serious omission since the fluid-
suspended state is achieved by the particles. Many
investigations can be found in the literature on the dynamic regime in which a radial impeller operates in
determination of N , and its dependence on a number such a case is different from the more conventional
js case in which the impeller is placed higher in the tank.
of geometric, physical, and operational variables
(Zwietering, 1958; Nienow, 1968; Baldi et al., 1978; Furthermore, impellers placed very close to the tank
Conti et al., 1981; Chapman et al., 1983; Chudacek, bottom are very common in industry, typically be-
1985, 1986; Gray, 1987; Raghava Rao et al., 1988; cause of the requirement to maintain agitation and
Armenante et al., 1992; Oldshue and Sharma, 1992; suspension while charging and emptying the tank,
especially in batch or semi-batch operations. There-
fore, the objectives of this work are to:

*Correspoding author. Tel.: 973 596 3548; fax: 973 802 f investigate and quantify the effect of the impeller
1946; e-mail: off-bottom clearance on N and power consumption,
1758 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine
for the case in which the impeller clearance is investigators were the first to propose different cor-
small (typically, below one-fourth of the tank dia- relations for different impeller flow regimes.
meter); Using kinetic energy balances, Musil and Vlk
f analyze the effects of geometric and physical vari- (1978) analyzed the effect of the impeller clearance for
ables on N , at low impeller clearance; axial-flow impellers in conical bottom tanks. They
f derive correlations quantifying the effects of impel- found two different regions: one in which the impeller
ler clearance and other parameters on N , for im- clearance had no effect upon the critical impeller
pellers placed near the tank bottom. speed, and other in which a linear dependence of the
critical impeller speed upon the impeller clearance
was observed. Later, Musil et al. (1984), extended this
2. PREVIOUS WORK ON THE EFFECT OF IMPELLER work for truncated bottom tanks. However, in these
CLEARANCE ON Njs works the effect of the impeller clearance was affected
Zwietering (1958) found that for propellers, by the tank bottom shape due to recirculation loops
paddles, and vaned disc turbines, N became smaller (Chudacek, 1985).
as the impeller off-bottom clearance-to-tank diameter A number of other investigators have followed
ratio (C@/¹) was reduced. He quantified the effects of Zwietering’s approach, typically presenting the results
C@/¹ and ¹/D on N in a graphical form, for C@/¹ for N in the form of proportionality or correlations
js js
typically in the range 1/7—1/2 (in some cases even as among variables (Nienow, 1968; Chapman et al., 1983;
low as 1/20), and established, from a graphical analy- Chudacek, 1986; Raghava Rao et al., 1988; Oldshue
sis of the experimental data, that the influence of the and Sharma, 1992; Armenante et al., 1992; Myers et
impeller off-bottom clearance, C@, could not be ex- al., 1994b; Aravinth et al., 1996). The data reported by
pressed in a power-law form. Chudacek (1986) also Oldshue and Sharma (1992) indicate a constant value
expressed doubts on the suitability of a power law to for N (0.05(C@/¹(0.10), for radial and mixed-flow
correlate the clearance effect. For six-blade disc tur- impellers. Armenante et al. (1992) observed a nearly
bines, Zwietering found that N was independent of linear relationship between N and the C@/D ratio
js js
C@/¹ for 1/7(C@/¹(1/2. However, Nienow (1968) (0.5(C@/D(0.83) for six-blade flat-blade turbines.
and Chapman et al. (1983), in disagreement with this The data presented by Myers et al. (1994b) suggested
result, reported that the impeller clearance has a sig- an exponential dependence of N with C@/¹, for
nificant effect on N for disc turbines. mixed- and axial-flow impellers.
Nienow (1968) and Conti et al. (1981) noted that Despite the abundant literature on solid suspension
two very different types of flow patterns are produced, it appears that very few of the published correlations
depending on whether a large or small impeller clear- — even those more recently developed — explicitly
ance is employed. At high impeller clearances, large predict the effect of impeller clearance on N . For
recirculation flows above and below the impeller are example, in an extensive study of solid suspension
present (the so-called ‘double-eight’ flow regime). At using pitched-blade turbines (Raghava Rao et al.,
low clearances, the lower recirculation flow is absent 1988) a correlation was proposed in which the effect of
(‘single-eight’ flow regime). In the latter case, N a number of geometric and physical variables was
and the power dissipated in the reactor at constant included, but not that of impeller clearance. Only
impeller speed are lower. Gray (1987) also found recently, Aravinth et al. (1996) proposed a correlation
that the dependence of P , the power consumed at for six-blade flat-blade turbines in which a power-law
N , on the impeller clearance was highly dependent expression was used to account for the effect of impel-
upon the pattern observed. These results indicate ler clearance. However, this correlation predicts an
that N and P are strongly dependent on the effect of the impeller diameter on N much more
js js js
type of hydrodynamic regime in which the impeller pronounced than in most correlations, including
operates. Zwietering equations, as further discussed below.
Several theoretical models have been proposed for Table 1 summarizes the available correlations that
solid suspension (Weisman and Efferding, 1960; Ko- incorporate, sometimes only indirectly, the effect
lar, 1961; Narayanan et al., 1969; Baldi et al., 1978; of impeller clearance in the expression for N .
Musil and Vlk, 1978; Einenkel, 1980; Musil et al., This table clearly shows that the available informa-
1984; Buurman et al., 1986; Molerus and Latzel, tion on the effect of impeller clearance on N is ex-
1987a, b; Witcherle, 1988; Rieger and Ditl, 1994; Geis- tremely limited and, in general, difficult to interpret
ler et al., 1993). However, none of them predicts the or utilize.
effect of impeller clearance. Although the semi-empiri- Only a few reports are available for multiple impel-
cal model for solid suspension of Baldi et al. (1978) ler systems. Armenante et al. (1992) and Armenante
provided an insight into the role of a number of and Li (1993) studied multiple radial-flow impeller
variables on N , the effect of impeller clearance was systems, and found that the clearance of the lowest
incorporated in their model largely through curve impeller off the tank bottom plays a major role on N .
fitting of experimental data. Conti et al. (1981) pro- They also found that the C@/¹ value at which the
posed empirical correlations based on Baldi et al. transition from one flow regime to the other occurred
(1978) for an eight-blade disc turbine, in which N was was largely independent of the presence of additional
a complex function of the impeller clearance. These impellers.
Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance 1759
3. APPARATUS AND EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE the speed at which no particles were visually observed
More than 300 solid suspension experiments were to be at rest on the tank bottom for more than one or
carried out in open, flat bottomed, cylindrical, fully two seconds. The reproducibility of N was within
baffles, Plexiglas tanks having diameters of 0.188, $4.22%. As mentioned above, radial impellers such
0.244, 0.292, and 0.584 m, respectively. Four types of as disc turbines typically produce a ‘double-eight’ flow
impellers were investigated, namely, six-blade disc pattern, with two major recirculation loops, one
turbine (DT), six-blade flat-blade turbine (FBT), six- above and one below the impeller. Below a critical
blade (45°) pitched-blade turbine (PBT) pumping value of the C /¹ ratio the lower recirculation loop is
downwards, and a fluidfoil Chemineer HE-3 impeller suppressed and the impeller operates in the ‘single-
(HE-3), also pumping downwards (Chemineer, Inc., eight’ flow regime. In this work, all experiments (ex-
Dayton, OH). The dimensions of the impellers are cept where otherwise noted) were conducted at impel-
given in the Table 2. A 2-HP variable speed motor ler clearances below the critical C /¹ ratio, so that the
(G. K. Heller Corp.) was used to rotate a hollow shaft impeller operated in the ‘single-eight’ regime. This was
on which one of the impellers was mounted. The verified by carrying out experiments at different im-
rotational speed was measured with an optical peller clearances, starting from a high C /¹ value
tachometer (Cole Parmer Instrument Co.). The hol- (1/4), until a change in the flow pattern was detected,
low shaft was equipped with strain gages (Measure- as indicated by the location where solid suspension
ments Group Co., Raleigh, NC, CEA-06-187UV-350) initiated: suspension was observed to take place from
connected to a slip ring assembly (Electronics Co., the center of the tank bottom or from its periphery
Bayonne, NJ). The gage signal was picked-up by an when the impeller was, respectively, in the ‘double-
external gage conditioner and amplifier system eight’ or ‘single-eight’ regime. No such transition was
(2120A system, Measurement Group, Co.). A data observed with axial-flow impellers (FBT and HE-3),
acquisition system (Labtech Notebook, Version which only produced a ‘single-eight’ flow regime ex-
d 6.3.0, 1991) installed on a computer was used to tending throughout the entire tank.
analyze the gage signal (mV) from the conditioner,
and calculate the torque and the power drawn by the 4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
impeller. The reproducibility of the power measure-
ment was within $6.18%. The system was calibrated 4.1. Effect of impeller clearance on N and power con-
before each impeller was used. js
sumption at low C /¹ values
The tank was filled with tap water up to a liquid b
The effect of C /¹ on N for each one of the four
height equal to the tank diameter. The temperature b js
impellers used in this work is shown in Fig. 1. For
was measured in each experimental run and was al- radial-flow impellers (DT and FBT) the critical C /¹
ways 22$0.5°C. In most experiments the solid phase b
range where the change in flow pattern took place was
was made of glass beads (Superbrite, 110—5005) hav- found to be a function of impeller type and D/¹, as
ing an average particle size of 110 km, a density of indicated by a rapid drop of N with C /¹ [Fig. 1(a)
2500 kg/m3, and a 0.5% (wt/wt) solid concentration. js b
and (b)]: the higher the D/¹ value, the lower was the
The effect of particle size on N was experimentally C /¹ value at which the transition occurred (Table 3).
js b
determined with glass beads having diameters of 60, For DT, the change in flow pattern took place for
75, 150, 200, and 300 km, respectively. The solid— C /¹ in the range 0.13—0.19, although the range was
liquid density difference was varied using spherical b
narrower for individual impeller sizes (e.g. 0.14—0.17
ion exchange resin particles having a density of for D/¹"0.261). Previous investigators found that
1375 kg/m3. In a few experiments the kinematic vis- the transition point was independent of D/¹. For
cosity of the liquid was increased to 148]10~6 m2/s example, both Conti et al. (1981) and Gray (1987)
using a sugar solution. All the experiments in which reported that the transition always occurred for
the particle size, density difference and viscosity were C@/¹"0.22, using an eight-blade DT and a six-blade
changed were carried out in the 0.244 m tank using DT, respectively. Nienow (1968) reported a value of
0.0762 m DT or FBT impellers. The effect of solids 0.17 for a six-blade DT.
loading was investigated using the 0.102 m impeller in Figure 1(a) shows that N always decreased with
the 0.292 m tank (D/¹"0.348) and three different js
decreasing C /¹, and approached a finite value as
solid concentrations (wt/wt), i.e., 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5%. b
C /¹ went to zero. In order to determine the depend-
The impeller clearance, C , defined here as the b
b ence between N and C /¹ the data in Fig. 1(a) were
distance between the bottom of the impeller and the js b
regressed using three different types of functions of
tank bottom, was varied in the range 1/48)C /¹) C /¹, namely, a linear function, an exponential func-
b b
1/4. The corresponding range using the conventional tion, and a power law function. The exponential func-
definition of the impeller clearance, C@ (measured from tion:
the impeller centerline to the tank bottom), was about

1/24)C@/¹)1/4. Experiments were also conducted C
N Jexp a b (1)
in the 0.292 m tank in which the value of the C /D
b js ¹
ratio was kept constants at 1/2, 1/4, or 1/5.
The agitation speed for complete off-bottom sus- was found to produce the best fits. This function also
pension, N , was that defined by Zwietering (1958), as has the advantage of converging to a finite value as
P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine
Table 1. Correlations from the literature in which the effect of impeller clearance was incorporated in the expression for N

Author Impeller Range Correlation

¹ g*o 1@2
Baldi et al. (1978) 8DT C@/D"0.5 N JPo~1@3 D~2@3X0.15d1@6
js D p o

¹ g*o 0.42
C@/D"1 N JPo~0.28 D~0.89X0.125d0.14 l0.17
js D p o

g*o 1@2
!bA# bA2#4aAPo2@3D4@3X0.134d1@6 l~0.1
p o
Conti et al. (1981) 8DT C@/¹(0.22 N" L
js PoD3

C@ C@
aA"2.08 ) 10~5!6 ) 10~5 , bA"0.575!1.25 , Po"5.5
¹ ¹

g*o 1@2
!bA# bA2#4aAPo2@3D4@3X0.134d1@6 l~0.1
p o
8DT C@/¹'0.22 N" L
js PoD3

aA"1.70 ) 10~5!4.55 ) 10~5 , bA"0.21, Po"8.0
Chudacek (1986) PBT X "6.1%, 12.2%
v C@ 0.22 X 0.08
1/6(C@/¹(1/3 or N "13.58 ¹~0.58 d0.52 l
js ¹ p 100!X
X "24.4%
l l

MP X "6.1%, 12.2%
v C@ 0.18 X 0.07
1/6(C@/¹(1/3 or N "13.78 ¹~0.53 d0.56 l
js ¹ p 100!X
X "24.4% l

Gray (1987) DT C@/¹(0.17 P Jexp 1.2 where N JP1@3
js ¹ js js


Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance

PBT C@/¹(0.37 P Jexp 0.31 where N JP1@3
js ¹ js js

DT C@/¹'0.17 P Jexp 5.3 where N JP1@3
js ¹ js js

PBT C@/¹'0.37 P Jexp 1.2 where N JP1@3
js ¹ js js

¹ 2.6 C@ 0.15 g*o 0.45
Aravinth et al. (1996) FBT 1/1.5(C@/¹(1/8.5 N "0.135 D~0.85X0.1d0.2 l0.1
js D ¹ p o
8DT: eight-blade disk turbine
MP: three-blade marine propeller

1762 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine
Table 2. Impeller types and dimensions

Impeller type of blades D (m) ¸ (m) w (m) k (mm)
Disc turbine (DT) 6 0.0635 D/4 D/5 1.6
6 0.0762 D/4 D/5 1.6
6 0.102 D/4 D/5 2.0
6 0.203 D/4 D/5 3.0
Flat-blade turbine (FBT) 6 0.0635 0.021 D/8 1.6
6 0.0762 0.027 D/8 1.6
6 0.102 0.038 D/8 2.0
6 0.203 0.088 D/8 3.0
45° Pitched-blade turbine (PBT) 6 0.0635 0.021 0.01 1.6
6 0.0762 0.027 D/8 1.6
6 0.102 0.038 D/8 2.0
6 0.203 0.088 D/8 3.0
Chemineer HE-3 (HE-3) 3 0.102 0.038 0.015 1.6
3 0.114 0.044 0.018 1.6
3 0.178 0.075 0.027 1.6
3 0.203 0.088 0.030 1.6
3 0.229 0.100 0.036 1.6

Fig. 1. Effect of impeller clearance (as C /¹) on N (d "110 km, o "2500 kg/m3, X"0.5%,
b js p S
l"1]10~6 m2/s): (a) DT (¹"0.292 m); (b) FBT (¹"0.292 m); (c) PBT (¹"0.292 m); and (d) HE-3
(¹"0.292—0.584 m).

C /¹ approaches zero. The values of a are given in and then decreases with D/¹. It is likely that these small
Table 4 for different D/¹ ratios. Inspection of Fig. 1(a) variations in the a values arise mainly from data fitting.
and Table 4 reveals that the slopes of the individual The linear function:
curves (for C /¹(1/8) are slightly different from one
another, indicating that a is a weak function of D/¹. C
N Ja@ b#1 (2)
However, no trend can be observed, as a first increases js ¹
Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance 1763
Table 3. C /¹ range in which a change in flow pattern was
power law function always gave the poorest fit (curves
observed for radial-flow impellers not shown).
The results for FBTs (Fig. 1(b)] are similar to those
Impeller type D/¹ C /¹ for DTs. However, the change in flow pattern was
observed to occur in a slightly different C /¹ range
DT 0.217 0.16—0.19 b
(0.19—0.24). The range in which the transition occur-
0.261 0.14—0.17
0.348 0.13—0.16 red was smaller for individual impellers (e.g. 0.19—0.21
for D/¹"0.261). Gray (1987) reported a change of
FBT 0.217 0.22—0.24 flow pattern at C@/¹"0.17, and Armenante and Li
0.261 0.19—0.21
(1993) found that the transition region occurred for
0.348 0.19—0.21
0.21(C@/¹(0.26, independently of the number of
impellers. The N data in Fig. 1(b) were regressed
with eq. (1). Table 4 shows that the dependence of
N on C /¹ was a week function of D/¹
js b
was also used to regress the data. The values of a@ are (1.89(a(2.05).
given in Table 5, also for different D/¹ ratios. Also in Figure 1(c) and (d) show the results for PBTs and
this case no trend can be observed for a as a function HE-3 impellers, respectively. Only a single recircula-
of D/¹. tion loop was observed with both types of impeller
In general, the fits based on the linear and exponen- (for C /¹ up to 0.25). Zwietering (1958) and Gray
tial forms were found to be very similar, the latter (1987), respectively, made the same observation for
being very slightly superior, as indicated by the cor- propellers (for C@/¹ up to 0.4) and PBTs (for C@/¹ up
relation coefficients reported in Tables 4 and 5. The to 0.37).

Table 4. Values of exponent a in eq. (1)

Impeller type D/¹ C /¹ range a coefficient
DT 0.217 1/48(C /¹(1/8 2.07 0.9989
(¹"0.292 m) 0.261 1/48(C /¹(1/8 2.23 0.9878
0.348 1/48(C /¹(1/8 2.19 0.9937
Overall average regression value for DTs 2.15
FBT 0.217 1/48(C /¹(1/5 2.05 0.9983
(¹"0.292 m) 0.261 1/48(C /¹(1/5 1.99 0.9983
0.348 1/48(C /¹(1/5 1.89 0.9988
Overall average regression value for FBTs 1.96
PBT 0.217 1/20(C /¹(1/4 0.67 0.9986
(¹"0.292 m) 0.261 1/20(C /¹(1/4 0.58 0.9970
0.348 1/48(C /¹(1/4 0.68 0.9949
Overall average regression value for PBTs 0.65
HE-3 0.348 1/16(C /¹(1/4 0.79 0.9840
(¹"0.292 m) 0.391 1/48(C /¹(1/4 0.64 0.9707
HE-3 0.304 1/12(C /¹(1/4 0.84 0.9861
(¹"0.584 m) 0.348 1/16(C /¹(1/4 0.80 0.9803
0.391 1/48(C /¹(1/4 0.79 0.9811
Overall average regression value for HE-3s 0.72

Note: The overall average regression values for each impeller were calculated using the same approach used
by Gray (1987) to obtain the dependence of P on C@/¹, i.e. using the equations:

jsJexp a b
Dc ¹
for DTs, FBTs and PBTs, and

js Jexp a b
D~1.62¹0.84 ¹
for the HE-3 impellers, where the values of the exponents were obtained from Tables 6 and 7 to account for the
effect of D and ¹.
1764 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine
Table 5. Values of exponent a@ in eq. (2)

Impeller type D/¹ C /¹ range a@ coefficient
DT 0.217 1/48(C /¹(1/8 2.43 0.9989
(¹"0.292 m) 0.261 1/48(C /¹(1/8 2.63 0.9925
0.348 1/48(C /¹(1/8 2.61 0.9921
Overall average regression value for DTs 2.58
FBT 0.217 1/48(C /¹(1/5 2.60 0.9987
(¹"0.292 m) 0.261 1/48(C /¹(1/5 2.52 0.9972
0.348 1/48(C /¹(1/5 2.36 0.9975
Overall average regression value for FBTs 2.43
PBT 0.217 1/20(C /¹(1/4 0.74 0.9985
(¹"0.292 m) 0.261 1/20(C /¹(1/4 0.64 0.9964
0.348 1/48(C /¹(1/4 0.75 0.9962
Overall average regression value for PBTs 0.72
HE-3 0.348 1/16(C /¹(1/4 0.92 0.9822
(¹"0.292 m) 0.391 1/48(C /¹(1/4 0.70 0.9653
HE-3 0.304 1/12(C /¹(1/4 0.98 0.9836
(¹"0.584 m) 0.348 1/16(C /¹(1/4 0.92 0.9778
0.391 1/48(C /¹(1/4 0.79 0.9763
Overall average regression value for HE-3s 0.80

In the present work, N was typically found to throttling effect is more noticeable for P than N .
js js js
increase with C /¹ for PBT and HE-3. However, an Since no throttling effect occurs with DT and FBT,
interesting feature of the curves in Fig. 1(c) and (d) is radial flow impellers can be advantageously posi-
that N actually decreases with increasing C /¹ tioned as low as possible, if off-bottom suspension of
js b
values for specific ranges of C /¹ and D/¹. For solids is the only design criterion. Mixed axial-flow
example, with smaller impellers (D/¹(0.261) an in- (PBT) and axial-flow (HE-3) impellers should be posi-
crease in N for C /¹(0.05 was observed. Chudacek tioned with minimum clearance, as governed either by
js b
(1985) reported a similar observation for a three- the presence of the throttling effect or by the agitation
blade marine propeller. A qualitative explanation for system geometry. These results support earlier obser-
this phenomenon is that smaller impellers require vations by Chudacek (1985) for three-blade propellers
a higher agitation speed to suspend solids than larger in different tank bottom geometries.
impellers, producing a downward flow impacting the The P —C /¹ data were correlated using the three
js b
tank bottom with a higher velocity, and resulting functions mentioned before, i.e. linear, exponential
in a sharp change in flow direction as this stream and power law. Only the points for which P in-
impacts the tank bottom. Placing the impeller creased with C /¹ were used. The best fit was ob-
progressively closer to the tank bottom may result in tained with the exponential type of dependence:
a flow that does not fully reach the fillet region

where the solids accumulate, thus resulting in a higher C
P Jexp b b . (3)
N value (throttling effect). This effect disappears as js
js ¹
the D/¹ ratio or the C /¹ ratio increase. The values
of a for PBTs and HE-3 impellers were in the The correlation using the power form gave the poor-
range 0.58(a(0.68, and 0.64(a(0.79, respec- est fit (data not shown). Weisman and Efferding (1960)
tively (Table 4). Only the points for which N in- and Gray (1987) also suggested an exponential de-
creased with C /¹ were included in the regression pendence of P with impeller clearance. Here it was
b js
analysis. found that 6.72(b(8.39 for DTs. For FBTs b was
In Fig. 2, the power dissipation at minimum agita- found to be in the range 4.74(b(5.30, i.e. in agree-
tion speed for complete solid suspension, P , is plot- ment with Weisman and Efferding (1960) who found
ted against C /¹. Similarly to the N case, the value of a value of 5.3 for flat paddle impellers. However, Gray
b js
P decreases when the impeller clearance decreases. (1987) found a value of 1.2 for a six-blade flat-blade
For PBT and HE-3 impellers, P was nearly indepen- impeller in the ‘single-eight’ regime (C@/¹(0.17) and
dent of impeller size (Fig. 2(c) and (d), respectively). a value of 5.3 in the ‘double-eight’ regime
Similar results were found by Gray (1987) and Myers (C@/¹'0.17). Only one size was investigated in that
et al. (1994a). Figure 2(c) and (d) show that the work.
Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance 1765

Fig. 2. Effect of impeller clearance (as C /¹) on P (d "110 km, o "2500 kg/m3, X"0.5%,
b js p S
l"1]10~6 m2/s): (a) DT (¹"0.292 m); (b) FBT (¹"0.292 m); (c) PBT (¹"0.292 m); and (d) HE-3
(¹"0.292—0.584 m).

For the case of PBTs, the exponent of C /¹ in for this size against 1/10 for the other sizes), which
eq. (3) was found to be in the range 0.99( reduces Po (Nienow and Miles, 1971).
b(1.06, i.e. in agreement with Gray (1987), who Po was found to be nearly independent of D/¹ for
reported a value of 1.2 for similar impellers. For HE-3 the FBT case [Fig. 3(b)]. Po showed a slight increase
impellers it was found that 1.82(b(1.89 in the with decreasing C /¹ values for 1/16(C /¹(1/5,
b b
0.292 m tank, and 1.65(b(1.73 in the 0.584 m and a much steeper one for 1/48(C /¹(1/16.
tank. The dependence of P on C /¹ was similar to A minimum in the Po value (2.14—2.16) can be ob-
js b
that given above for the N case [eq. (1)]. served in the region where the change in the flow
The power number, Po, was calculated from the pattern occurs (C /¹+1/5). The marked difference in
experimental values of N and P and the expression the plots of Po vs C /¹ for DTs and FBTs can be
js js b
(Rushton et al., 1950): attributed to the fact that whereas DTs are truly
radial impellers FBTs are open impellers that ‘do not
P normally pump in a true radial directions since there
Po" js . (4)
o N3 D5 is a pressure difference between each side of the impel-
SL js
ler. They tend to pump upward or downward while
In Fig. 3 the values of Po are reported as a function of discharging radially’ (Oldshue, 1983, p. 10). A similar
C /¹ for each type of impeller. Po was experimentally plot of Po vs impeller clearance has been obtained
obtained also using water only, with no solids. No before (Bates et al., 1963).
significant difference was found between the power A plot of Po vs C /¹ for PBTs [Fig. 3(c)] shows
numbers obtained in the presence or absence of solids, a trend similar to that of the FBTs, although the
at least for the solid concentration used here (0.5%; numerical values of the power number are different.
results not shown). For the DT case Po was found to No minimum points can be observed for the PBT case
be nearly constant for 1/8(C /¹(1/28 [Fig. 3(a)]. since no change in the flow pattern takes place with
A steep decrease can be observed when the impeller is this type of impeller. The increase in power consump-
very close to the tank bottom (1/28(C /¹(1/48) tion with decreasing impeller clearance can be at-
probably due to a reduction in the recirculation near tributed to the fact that as the impeller is placed more
the bottom of the tank as the impeller is very close to closely to the tank bottom the discharge flow must
the tank bottom. The 0.0625 m impeller shows a de- more rapidly change from downward (in the region
crease in the power number that could be attributed comprised between the impeller and the tank bottom)
to the higher disc thickness-to-blade width ratio (1/8 to upwards near the periphery of the tank bottom,
1766 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine

Fig. 3. Effect of impeller clearance (as C /¹) on power number, Po (d "110 km, o "2500 kg/m3,
b p S
X"0.5%, l"1]10~6 m2/s): (a) DT (¹"0.292 m), (b) FBT (¹"0.292 m), (c) PBT (¹"0.292 m), and (d)
HE-3 (¹"0.292—0.584 m).

thus resulting in a higher power dissipation. Po was constant (Table 6). For the same impeller, the expo-
found to be largely independent of the D/¹ ratio. The nents on D at constant C /¹ were always higher than
higher Po value for the 0.0635 m PBT was likely those at constant C /D. Armenante and Li (1993)
caused by the considerable effect that minor dimen- observed that a review of the literature on solids
sions have on the power number, since the blade suspension with radial-flow impellers (in which the
width-to-impeller diameter ratio for this impeller was impeller was typically placed above the critical C /¹
larger than for the other two impellers (Table 2). An where flow transition occurred) revealed that those
analysis of the data reported by Bates et al. (1963) investigators who quantified the effect of D on N
shows that an increase in the projected blade height at constant C@ (i.e. constant C /¹) reported values
from 1/8 to 1/5 produced a 40% increase in the power for the exponent of D significantly higher than
number. Finally, Fig. 3(d) shows the result for the those who kept C@/D constant (i.e. constant C /D).
HE-3 impellers. Also in this case, as in the PBT case, For example, for radial-flow impellers and constant
Po was found to be a monotonically decreasing func- C@/¹, Zwietering (1958), Nienow (1968), Narayanan
tion of C /¹. et al. (1969), and Chapman et al. (1983) reported
values of !2.35, !2.18, !2.00, and !2.45, respec-
4.2. Effect of impeller diameter on N at low C /¹ tively, whereas Baldi et al. (1978) and Armenante
js b and Li (1993) reported values of !1.67 and !1.77,
In Figs 4 and 5, N is plotted against the impeller respectively, for constant C@/D. Table 6 also shows
js that c and c@ are higher for radial-flow than axial-
diameter for constant C /¹ and constant C /D, re-
b b flow impellers. This is consistent with the results of
spectively. The slopes of the lines through the points
are equal to the exponent on D in: Raghava Rao et al. (1988) for experiments with impel-
ler clearances above the critical C /¹ value for flow
N JDc (constant C /¹) (5) pattern change.
js b The values of c@ for DT were found to be equal to
N JDc{ (constant C /D). (6) !2.06 and !2.12 for C /D equal to 1/4 and 1/5,
js b b
respectively, but only!1.62 for C /D"1/2 (Table 6).
In general, the slopes are similar to one another in It is important to remark that the last point in the C /
each figure, but different for each impeller type and D"1/2 line in Fig. 5 is actually above the critical
which geometric ratio (C /¹ or C /D) was kept C /¹ value for flow transition. This line shows a rapid
b b b
Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance 1767

Fig. 4. Effect of impeller diameter, D, on N , at constant C /¹ (d "110 km, o "2500 kg/m3, X"0.5%,
js b p S
l"1]10~6 m2/s): (a) DT (¹"0.292 m), (b) FBT (¹"0.292 m), (c) PBT (¹"0.292 m), and (d) HE-3
(¹"0.584 m).

Fig. 5. Effect of impeller diameter, D, on N , at constant C /D (d "110 km, o "2500 kg/m3, X"0.5%,
js b p S
l"1]10~6 m2/s): (a) DT (¹"0.292 m), (b) FBT (¹"0.292 m), (c) PBT (¹"0.292 m), and (d) HE-3
(¹"0.584 m).

change in slope, indicating that a different depend- literature reports (Baldi et al., 1978; Armenante
ence between N and D exists depending, on whether and Li, 1993) in which c@ was found to be similar
the flow regime is of the ‘single-eight’ or ‘double- to the !1.62 value found here, as mentioned
eight’ type. This is further confirmed by previous above.
1768 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine
Table 6. Values of exponents c and c@ in eqs (5) and (6)

Constant C /¹ Constant C /D
b b
Impeller type C /¹ range c C /D range c@
b b
DT 1/48(C /¹(1/8 !2.25$0.02 1/5(C /D(1/4 !2.09$0.04
b b
C /D"1/2 !1.62
FBT 1/48(C /¹(1/8 !2.07$0.03 1/5(C /D(1/2 !1.89$0.07
b b
PBT 1/48(C /¹(1/4 !1.66$0.01 1/5(C /D(1/2 !1.60$0.02
b b
HE-3 1/48(C /¹(1/4 !1.62$0.01 1/5(C /D(1/2 !1.52$0.06
b b
Note: The c and c@ results are reported as the average slope for a given impeller $ the standard deviation.

Fig. 6. Effect of tank diameter, ¹, on N , at constant D/¹"0.348 (d "110 km, o "2500 kg/m3,
js p S
X"0.5%, l"1]10~6 m2/s): (a) DT, (b) FBT, (c) PBT, and (d) HE-3.

4.3. Effect of scale-up on N at low C /¹ values panels in Fig. 6$the maximum deviation. These re-
js b
The effect of scale-up on N was studied at constant sults are independent of C /¹ for geometrically sim-
js b
D/¹ ratio (0.348) in geometrically similar systems, ilar systems. The values of the exponent on ¹ reported
using three tank sizes (0.188, 0.292 and 0.584 m). Since by Zwietering (1958) and Chapman et al. (1983) for
the D/¹ ratio was slightly smaller in the smallest tank systems with impeller clearances above the critical
(0.337), the data for this tank were normalized using C /¹ value for flow transition are !0.85 and !0.76,
eq. (5) and the c values of Table 6. The results are respectively. These values are comparable to those
reported in Fig. 6. A regression of the data resulted in obtained in the present work using low-clearance im-
the following proportionality relationships: pellers.
N J¹0.82$0.01JD0.82$0.01
js 4.4. Effect of particle size, density difference, kinematic
(constant D/¹ and C /¹) (7) viscosity, and solids loading on N at low C /¹ values
b js b
for DTs, FBTs and PBTs, and A regression analysis of the experimental data in
which the particle size, density difference, and kin-
N J¹0.78$0.01JD0.78$0.01 ematic viscosity were changed gave the following re-
(constant D/¹ and C /¹) (8)

for HE-3 impellers. The exponents in these equations g*o 0.50
N Jd0.22 l0.09 (9)
represent the averages of the slopes in each of the js p o
Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance 1769
for DT and A similar approach was followed to determine the
coefficients using the linear dependence of N with
g*o 0.53 C /¹ [eq. (2)], i.e. using the equation:
N Jd0.24 l0.09 (10) b
js p o
C ¹ q{ g*o f
for FBT. From the experiments in which the solids N "t@ ) a@ b#1 ) ) D( ) Xm ) dd ) ln ) .
js ¹ D p o
loading was changed the following expressions were L
found: (14)

N JX0.13$0.003 (11) The results are reported in Table 8. The correlation

coefficients were all above 0.999. The coefficients of
for DT and FBT, and variation were 1.95, 1.27, 1.50, and 1.40% for DT,
N JX0.11$0.003 (12) FBT, PBT and HE-3, respectively. The largest posit-
js ive and negative deviations between experimental and
for PBT and HE-3. These exponents are very similar calculated N values were found to be (4.70%,
to those reported by previous investigators (Zwieter- !4.35%) for DT, (2.55%,!2.99%) for FBT, (1.98%,
ing, 1958; Nienow, 1968). !5.88%) for PBT, and (2.47%, !2.05%) for HE-3.

5. PROPOSED CORRELATIONS FOR Nj s AT LOW Cb /T 5.2. Correlations based on a modification of Zwietering

VALUES equation
The Zwietering equation (Zwietering, 1958):
5.1. Correlations based on overall data regression
l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
The first way in which the data were regressed was N "S p L (15)
by using the following equation: js D0.85

C ¹ q g*o f with
N "t exp a b ) ) D( ) Xm ) dd ) lg )
js p o
¹ D
L S"f
¹ ¹
; or S"g
¹ ¹
; (16)
D C@ D C
(13) b
is the most commonly used equation to predict N in
in which the parameters and exponents were obtained js
for each type of impeller as follows. The parameter stirred tanks. Given the similarity between the expo-
a was obtained from Table 4 (using the overall aver- nents for D, d , (g Do/o ), l, and X obtained in this
p L
age regression values for each impeller type). The work (Table 7) and those found by Zwietering
value of / was equal to the exponent on ¹ or D (for [eq. (15)] and the wide acceptance of Zwietering equa-
constant D/¹ and C /¹) reported in eqs (7) or (8). The tion, it made sense to regress the data obtained here
b using the same exponents for these variables as in
exponent q was calculated from the difference between
/ and c in eq. (5) (obtained from Table 6), since c was Zwietering equation. The function S was defined here
obtained in experiments in which ¹ and C /¹ were using the same exponential functionality between
b N and ¹/D and C /¹ used in eq. (13), i.e.
constant while D was varied. m was taken to be 0.13 or js b
0.11 [eqs (11) or (12)]. The exponents d, g, and f were
¹ b C
taken from eq. (9) (for DT) or eq. (10) (for FBT). For S"a exp c b . (17)
D ¹
the other two impeller types (PBT and HE-3), the
averages of corresponding exponents in eqs (9) and The S value for each experiment was calculated
(10) were used, since no experiments were carried out through eq. (15), where all terms are known except S.
with axial- or mixed-flow impellers in which the par- After taking the logarithm on both sides, eq. (17) was
ticle size, density difference, and kinematic viscosity used to regress the S values against ¹/D and C /¹ in
were varied. Finally, t was obtained by linearly re- order to obtain the constants a, b, and c. The results
gressing the experimental N values with the term in are shown in Table 9. As before, the PBT and HE-3
square brackets in eq. (13). The PBT and HE-3 points points for which N decreased with increasing C /¹
js b
for which N decreased with increasing C /¹ values values were not considered. The correlation coeffi-
js b
(as a result of the throttling effect at very low C /¹) cients were all above 0.997 except for HE-3 (0.96). The
were not included in the regression. The resulting coefficients of variation were 2.1, 1.2, 1.4 and 3.1% for
correlations are reported in Table 7. The correlation DT, FBT, PBT and HE-3, respectively. The largest
coefficients were all above 0.999. The coefficients of positive and negative deviations between experi-
variation (defined as the standard error of the estimate mental and correlated N values were (#3.9%,
over the mean N value) were 2.0%, 1.1% 1.2%, and !4.2%) for DT, (#4.9%;!2.9%) for FBT, (#3.4%;
1.6% for DT, FBT, PBT and HE-3, respectively, while !2.9%) for PBT, and (#5.3%; !4.8%) for HE-3.
the largest positive and negative deviations between Parity plots showing how the calculated values com-
experimental and correlated N values were found to pared to the experimental value for each impeller type
be (#4.9%, !3.6%) for DT, (#1.8%; !3.4%) for are given in Fig. 7. In all cases the points align them-
FBT, (#1.7%; !3.4%) for PBT, and (#2.4%; selves along a 45° line, indicating a good agreement
!3.0%) for HE-3. between calculated and experimental N values.
1770 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine
Table 7. Correlations for N obtained from data regression using an exponential dependence of N on C /¹ [eq. (13)]
js js b
Impeller type Correlation

¹ 1.43 C g*o 0.50
DT* N "0.93 ) exp 2.15 b ) D~0.82 ) X0.13 ) d0.22 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o

¹ 1.25 C g*o 0.53
FBT* N "1.47 ) exp 1.96 b ) D~0.82 ) X0.13 ) d0.24 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o

¹ 0.84 C g*o 0.51
PBT N "2.33 ) exp 0.65 b ) D~0.82 ) X0.11 ) d0.23 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o

¹ 0.84 C g*o 0.51
HE-3 N "3.67 ) exp 0.62 b ) D~0.78 ) X0.11 ) d0.23 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o
Note: Correlations are dimensional: N is in revolutions/s; X is in weight percentage; all other variables have SI units.
* For the case of radial impellers (DTs and FBTs) these correlations are valid only if the lower circulation loop is
suppressed (‘single-eight’ regime).

Table 8. Correlations for N obtained from data regression using a linear dependence of N on C /¹ [eq. (14)]
js js b
Impeller type Correlation

¹ 1.43 C g*o 0.50
DT N "0.92 ) ) 2.58 b#1 ) D~0.82 ) X0.13 ) d0.22 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o

¹ 1.25 C g*o 0.53
FBT N "1.44 ) ) 2.43 b#1 ) D~0.82 ) X0.13 ) d0.24 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o

¹ 0.84 C g*o 0.51
PBT N "2.32 ) ) 0.72 b#1 ) D~0.82 ) X0.11 ) d0.23 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o

¹ 0.84 C g*o 0.51
HE-3 N "3.60 ) ) 0.80 b#1 ) D~0.78 ) X0.11 ) d0.23 ) l0.09 )
js D ¹ p o
Note: Same notation as in Table 7.

An approach similar to that used above to obtain !0.94, a fact not generally recognized. The coeffi-
the coefficients a, b and c when S was expressed as cients of variation for the equations in Table 10 were
a function of an exponential function of C /¹ was also 2.0, 1.3, 1.4 and 3.3% for DT, FBT, PBT and HE-3,
followed to determine the coefficients a@, b@, c@ using respectively. The largest positive and negative
a linear dependence of S with C /¹, i.e. deviations between experimental and correlated
N values were (#4.0%, !4.6%) for DT, (#3.3%;

¹ b{ C !4.4%) for FBT, (#2.9%; !3.3%) for PBT, and
S"a@ ) c@ b#1 . (18)
D ¹ (#5.8%; !6.6%) for HE-3.

The results are reported in Table 10. The correlation 5.3. Comparison with previous work
coefficients were 0.967, 0.992, 0.945, and 0.832, for DT, Since a systematic examination of the effects of low
FBT, PBT and HE-3, respectively. These correlation impeller clearances on N has not been conducted to
coefficients are lower than those for all the other date, nor were correlations typically presented for
regressions obtained in this work (especially for the such a case, comparison with previous work can only
case of HE-3) primarily because of the superior fit of be made by looking at the sparse data available in the
the exponential dependence over the linear depend- literature on low clearance impellers, or correlations
ence of N on C /¹, but also because the Zwietering originally derived for impellers operating in a different
js b
equation imposes a fixed exponent for D equal to C /¹ range.
!0.85 [eq. (15)]. Whenever the N regressions pro- The values of the exponents m, d, g, and f found here
duced a value of the exponent for D very different [eq. (13); Table 7] are similar to those found by other
from Zwietering’s!0.85 (e.g.!0.78 for HE-3; Tables authors who mainly studied systems in which the flow
7 and 8) the fit of the modified Zwietering equations regime for radial impellers was or the ‘double-eight’
(Tables 9 and 10) was found to be poorer. Bowen type (Zwietering, 1958; Nienow, 1968; Narayanan
(1989) pointed out that Zwietering (1958) actually et al., 1969; Chapman et al., 1983; Raghava Rao et al.,
obtained exponents for D in the range !0.78 to 1988; Aravinth et al., 1996). This implies that the
Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance 1771
Table 9. Proposed correlations for N using a modified Zweitering equation containing an exponential dependence of
N on C /¹ [eqs (15) and (17)]
js b
Impeller type Modified Zweitering correlation

¹ 1.40 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
DT* N " 0.99 ) exp 2.18 b ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

¹ 1.20 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
FBT* N " 1.43 ) exp 1.95 b ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

¹ 0.83 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
PBT N " 2.28 ) exp 0.65 b ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

¹ 0.79 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
HE-3 N " 3.49 ) exp 0.66 b ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

Note: In each equation the expression in square brackets is equal to the S value.
* For the case of radial impellers (DTs and FBTs) these correlations are valid only if the lower circulation loop is
suppressed (‘single-eight’ regime).

Table 10. Proposed correlations for N using a modified Zweitering equation containing a linear dependence of N on
js js
C /¹ [eqs (15) and (18)]
Impeller type Modified Zweitering correlation

¹ 1.41 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
DT* N " 0.96 2.58 b#1 ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

¹ 1.21 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
FBT* N " 1.40 2.42 b#1 ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

¹ 0.83 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
PBT N " 2.27 0.70 b#1 ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

¹ 0.92 C l0.1d0.2 (g*o/o )0.45X0.13
HE-3 N " 3.06 0.68 b#1 ) p L
js D ¹ D0.85

Note: Same notation as in Table 9.

dependence of N on physical and geometric para- (¹"0.5 and 1 m, ¹/D"3; C@/¹"1/3—1/12, d "
js p
meters such as particle diameter, viscosity, density 77!290]10~3 m, X "6.1—24.4% v/v). A comparison
difference, and solids loading is not substantially af- between the S values for marine propellers reported
fected by the change in the fluid-dynamic regime re- by Zwietering (1958) and those obtained here for PBT
sulting from placing the impeller close to the tank supports this observation (Table 12). However,
bottom. Zwietering’s results for C@/¹"1/2.5 (outside the
Table 11 shows the S values obtained by different range of the present work) are slightly higher than
investigators for DT impellers. The S values obtained those calculated here using the PBT equation in Table 9.
in this work are typically lower than those of Zwieter- Also, Zwietering’s data suggest an exponential de-
ing (1958), but similar to those of Nienow (1968). This pendence [SJexp(0.94 C@/¹)], for C@/¹"1/2.5
is not surprising since Zwietering found, oddly, that and 1/4, stronger than that found in this work
S was independent of the C@/¹ ratio. An analysis of his [SJexp(0.65 C /¹)], for 1/20(C /¹(1/4. A com-
b b
data indicates that SJ(¹/D)1.5. Nienow (1968) cor- parison with the results for PBTs obtained by Nienow
rected this relation for different values of C@/¹. An and Miles (1978) and Chapman et al. (1983) is also
analysis of Nienow’s data for DTs in the ‘single-eight’ shown in Table 12.
flow regime shows that his data can be regressed by The correlation proposed by Raghava Rao et al.
S J (¹/D)1.33. This exponent is very similar to that (1988) for PBTs does not explicitly include the effect of
found here (1.40; Table 9). the impeller clearance on N . These investigators
An inspection of the correlations obtained by found that N JD~1.16. This exponent is signifi-
Chudacek (1986) for flat-bottomed tanks reveals that cantly smaller that those reported by other investiga-
the agitation speeds for complete off-bottom suspen- tors who studied axial-flow impellers (e.g. Zwietering
sion are similar using three-blades square pitch pro- found N JD~1.67 for marine propellers and
pellers and six-blade (45°) pitched-blade turbines Chapman et al. (1983) obtained N JD~1.5 for PBT).
1772 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine

Fig. 7. Comparison between experimental N , values and calculated N , values (via regression using
js js
modified Zwietering equations with exponential dependence of N on C /¹; Table 9); (a) DT, (b) FBT, (c)
js b
PBT, and (d) HE-3.

Raghava Rao et al. attributed this difference to the (d "3250 km; o "1180 kg/m3) as solids. For the
p S
effect of possible differences in flow pattern due to the configuration they used (¹/D"3, H/¹"1,
larger sizes of the impellers and vessels they used. C /¹"1/4), N for the PBT was 3.07 rps, while that
b js
Myers and Fasano (1992) studied the influence of for the HE-3 impeller was 4.79 rps, for a baffle off-
baffle off-bottom clearance on solid suspension. They bottom clearance of zero. Using these parameters
used a four-blade (45°) PBT and a Chemineer HE-3 their S values for PBTs and HE-3 impellers can be
impeller (D"0.203 m), and acrylic plastic beads calculated to be equal to 6.2 and 9.7, respectively.

Table 11. Comparison of S values for DT impellers

S value

Nienow and Miles Chapman et al. This work

¹/D C@/¹ Zwietering (1958) Nienow (1968) (1978) (1983) (Table 9)*s

2 1/5 4.0 4.1 — — 3.6

3 1/5 7.4 6.9 — — 6.6
4 1/5 11.4 10.2 — — 9.9
2 1/6 — — 3.4 — 3.4
3 1/6 — — — 5.8 6.1
4 1/6 — — 10.7 — 9.2
2 1/7 4.0 3.7 — — 3.2
3 1/7 7.4 6.3 — — 5.8
4 1/7 11.4 9.2 — — 8.7

*Valid only if the lower circulation loop is suppressed (‘single-eight’ regime).

sThe C /¹ values were obtained from the corresponding C@/¹ values before the DT equation in Table 9 was applied.
Effect of low off-bottom impeller clearance 1773
Table 12. Comparison of S values for PBT impellers and propellers

S value

Zwietering Nienow and Chapman et al. This work

¹/D C@/¹ (1958)* Miles (1968) (1983) (Table 9)s

3 1/2.5 7.7 — — 7.3

4 1/2.5 9.7 — — 9.3
5 1/2.5 11.6 — — 11.1
2 1/4 — 7.8 5.8 4.7
3 1/4 6.7 — — 6.6
4 1/4 8.4 10.0 7.1 8.4
5 1/4 10.1 — — 10.1

* Valid for marine propellers.

s The C /¹ values were obtained from the corresponding C@/¹ values before the PBT
equation in Table 9 was applied.

These S values are in good agreement with those In general, mixed-flow and axial-flow impellers are
calculable using Table 9 (6.6 and 9.8, respectively). more energy efficient than radial-flow impellers to
Aravinth et al. (1996) have recently proposed a modi- completely suspend solids in the region very near to
fied Zwietering equation for FBTs in which S is given by the tank bottom. However, as the impeller clearance is
progressively decreased the difference in impeller per-

¹ 2.6 C@ 0.15 formance becomes less pronounced. Furthermore,
S"0.135 ) ) . (19)
D ¹ N for axial and mixed-flow impeller may actually
increase with lower C /¹ ratios, when C /¹ ap-
A maximum deviation of 19.2% and an RMS error of b b
proaches zero.
9.4% were reported. The N values predicted with this
js Correlations relating N to C /¹, ¹/D, and other
js b
equation are much smaller (typically by a factor geometric and physical variables were obtained. The
0.15—0.5) that those predicted by the equations for exponents for the particle diameter, solid—liquid den-
FBT obtained in the present work (Tables 7 and 9). sity, kinematic viscosity, and solids loading are very
However, an examination of their data shows that close to those reported in the literature, and, in par-
Aravinth et al. did not distinguish between data col- ticular, to those presented by Zwietering (1958). The
lected in the ‘single-eight’ regime and the ‘double- impeller off-bottom clearance does not appear to af-
eight’ regime. This approach may introduce unnecess- fect these exponents.
ary scatter in the data since N is affected by the type
js Empirical correlations, as well as modified Zwieter-
of hydrodynamic regime in which the impeller oper- ing equations for different impellers, were derived.
ates. The choice of a power-law expression for the These equations also incorporate the effects of C /¹
dependence of N on C@/¹ may also be inappropriate b
js and ¹/D, for impellers placed near the tank bottom
to study solid suspension at low impeller clearances. (C /¹(1/4). Good agreement between the experi-
Finally, in the equation they proposed, those investi- b
mental data and the predictions from the equations
gators reported that N JD~3.45. Such an exponent
js was obtained. In general, regression equations that
for D is larger, in absolute value, than any of those incorporated an exponential dependence of N on
reported in the literature for radial-flow impellers, js
C /¹ were found to be superior to those that included
such as those for disc turbines [!2.35 (Zwietering, b
a linear dependence.
1958),!2.21 (Nienow, 1968),!2.45 (Chapman et al.,
1983), !2.30 (Armenante et al., 1992)], or flat-blade
turbines [!2.00 (Narayanan et al., 1969), !2.05
We would like to thank Ms. Jessyca Susanto for carrying
(Armenante and Li, 1993)].
out some of the experiments to determine the effect of par-
ticle diameter, density difference, and kinematic viscosity.
6. CONCLUSIONS Partial support for this work came from the National
In this work, the effect of impeller clearance on Science Foundation (Grant Number EEC 9520573).
N for low values of the C /¹ ratio was experi-
js b
mentally determined. Currently, little information is NOTATION
available in the literature on such systems, although a, b, c constants in eq. (17)
agitation systems containing impellers with low off- a@, b@, c@ constants in eq. (18)
bottom clearance (typically smaller than 1/10 of the Cb impeller clearance measured from the bot-
tank diameter) are very common in many industrial tom of the impeller to the tank bottom, m
tanks in which agitation is to be maintained at all C@ impeller clearance measured from the impel-
times during the emptying or filling up operations. ler centerline to the tank bottom, m
1774 P. M. Armenante and E. U. Nagamine
D impeller diameter, m Chapman, C. M., Nienow, A. W., Cooke, M. and
dp particle size, m Middleton, J. C. (1983) Particle—Gas—liquid mixing
g gravitational constant, 9.81 m/s2 in stirred vessels. Part I: particle—liquid mixing.
k metal thickness of impeller disc or blades, ¹rans. Inst. Chem. Engng 61, 71—81.
mm Chudacek, M. W. (1985) Solids suspension behavior
in profiled bottom and flat bottom mixing tanks.
¸ length of blade, m
Chem. Engng Sci. 40, 385—392.
Njs minimum agitation speed for complete off- Chudacek, M. W. (1986) Relationships between
bottom solid suspension; revolutions/s (rps), solids suspension criteria, mechanism of suspen-
or revolutions per minute (rpm) where sion, tank geometry, and scale-up parameters in
otherwise indicated stirred tanks. Ind. Engng Chem. Fundam. 25,
Po power number, defined in eq. (4); non-di- 391—401.
mensional Conti, R., Sicardi, S. and Specchia, V. (1981) Effect of
Pjs power drawn by impeller at Njs , Watts the stirrer clearance on suspension in agitated
S Zwietering correlation parameter, defined in vessels. Chem. Engng J. 22, 247—249.
eq. (15), non-dimensional Einenkel, W.-D. (1980) Influence of physical proper-
ties and equipment design on the homogeneity of
¹ tank diameter, m
suspensions in agitated vessels. Ger. Chem. Engng 3,
wb blade width, m 118—124.
X weight percentage of solids (solids loading), Geisler, R. K., Buurman, C. and Mersmann, A. B.
g/g]100 (1993) Scale-up of the necessary power input in
Xl volume percentage of solids, v/v]100 stirred vessels with suspensions. Chem. Engng J. 51,
Greek letters Gray, D. J. (1987) Impeller clearance effect on off-
a, a@, b, c, c@, d, f, g, m, q, q@,/, t, t@ constant parameters bottom particle suspension in agitated vessels.
l kinematic viscosity, m2/s Chem. Engng Commun. 61, 151—158.
oL density of liquid, kg/m3 Kolar, V. (1961) Studies on mixing. X: Suspending
solid particles in liquids by means of mechanical
oS density of solid, kg/m3
agitation. Collec. Czech. Chem. Commun. 26,
o density of solid—liquid slurry, kg/m3
SL 613—627.
*o solid—liquid density difference, (oS!oL ), Molerus, M. and Latzel, W. (1987a) Suspension of
kg/m3 solid particles in agitated vessels—I. Archimedes
number(40. Chem. Engng Sci. 42, 1423—1430.
Abbreviations Molerus, M. and Latzel, W. (1987b) Suspension of
DT six-blade disc turbine solid particles in agitated vessels—II. Archimedes
FBT six-blade flat-blade turbine number'40, reliable prediction of minimum stir-
HE-3 chemineer HE-3 impeller rer angular velocities. Chem. Engng Sci. 42,
PBT six-blade (45°) pitched-blade turbine 1431—1437.
Musil, L. and Vlk, J. (1978) Suspending solid particles
in an agitated conical-bottom tank. Chem. Engng
Sci. 33, 1123—1131.
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