Techniques for visualization of cavern boundaries in opaque industrial mixing systems

Mark Simmons, I Edwards, JF Hall, X Fan, David Parker, EH Stitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


In the agitation of complex fluids, the avoidance of caverns is essential for successful blending. Electrical resistance tomography (ERT) and positron emission projection imaging, which can both image within opaque fluids, have been assessed for visualization of cavern boundaries. A vessel of diameter, T = 154 mm, equipped with a single 57 mm diameter six bladed 45 degrees down pumping pitched blade disc turbine formed the test system. The fluid used was aqueous solution of carbopol 940. Both techniques were used to detect and image caverns at Re from 20-86.6 and compared with optical images. Reasonable agreement on the maximum cavern heights and widths were obtained, with the taller and narrower caverns obtained via 3D ERT measurements being attributed to artifacts of the method and interactions between the polymer and tracer. Caverns were also detectable using a robust linear ERT array, which has potential for use within industrial systems. (C) 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AlChE J, 55: 2765-2772, 2009
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2765-2772
Number of pages8
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • stirred tanks
  • non-Newtonian fluids
  • electrical resistance tomography
  • positron emission tomography
  • caverns


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