Velocity field characterization of Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids in SMX mixers using PEPT

Olga Mihailova, Denis O'sullivan, Andy Ingram, Serafeim Bakalis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


The ability to predict fluid behavior, such as velocity distribution or degree of mixing, is a critical step in designing industrial mixing processes. However, the majority of processing technologies are difficult to study using traditional approaches, due to the opacity/impermeability of the construction materials, as well as employed fluids, and geometric complexities of such systems.

The current work applies a novel technique, positron emission particle tracking (PEPT), which allows for characterization of complex systems. PEPT relies on triangulation of γ-rays emitted by a radioactive tracer particle, allowing the study of geometrically complex systems regardless of the system properties. This study compares the velocity distributions of a Newtonian fluid, glycerol, and a non-Newtonian fluid, guar gum solution (0.7%, w/w), flowing through 10 elements of a DN25 SMX mixer at 300 L/h.

Axial velocity remained positive throughout, and no back-mixing was exhibited. The velocity components appeared to be independent of rheology, with the overall flow across 10 mixer elements resembling plug flow. Radial velocities were unimodally distributed around zero in the direction where no mixing was induced, while in the direction in which radial mixing is induced, the velocity distributions were either uni- or bimodal, depending on the geometry of the cross-section.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Early online date12 Mar 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2016


  • SMX
  • PEPT
  • Velocity
  • Newtonian
  • Non-Newtonian


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