Flow, turbulence and potential droplet break up mechanisms in an in-line Silverson 150/250 high shear mixer

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  • Unilever R and D Port Sunlight


Angle resolved 2-D PIV measurements were performed to characterise the flow and turbulence as well as indicate potential droplet break up mechanisms in an in-line Silverson 150/250 high shear mixer, using water as the working fluid in the turbulent regime (120,000 < Re < 420,000). Distributions of Reynolds stresses, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), and energy dissipation rates (ε) were examined. The regions of interest (ROI) were: A – jet emanating from a stator hole and B – the rotor swept volume. The complex flow pattern can cause droplet break up under either laminar or turbulent conditions depending on the characteristic length and velocity in the ROI; break up due to turbulence in the inertial regime was identified as the dominant mechanism in this study. Evaluated energy dissipation rates obtained assuming either a fully resolved velocity field (DE) or using the Smagorinsky closure model (SGS) were found to depend on rotor speed e.g. ε∝N b with b exponents of 1.59–1.90 (DE) and 2.42–2.84 (SGS), which are comparable to existing literature values. The influence on ε of the rotor speed, external pump flow rate and induced backpressure on the mixer outlet, were also investigated. Analysis revealed that the intensity and propensity of ε is dictated by the dominant flow in the mixing head e.g. radial flow at high pump flow rates, prominent in ROI A or tangential flow at high rotor speeds and when backpressure is induced, prominent in ROI B.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100055
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalChemical Engineering Science: X
Early online date17 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Energy dissipation rate, Fluid mechanics, High shear mixer, PIV, Silverson, Turbulence