Optimisation of stirred vessel geometry for the drawdown and incorporation of floating solids to prepare concentrated slurries

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  • Johnson Matthey Technology Centre


This paper reports on a Design of Experiments (DoE) approach to optimise the geometric configuration for effective drawdown and incorporation of floating solids to prepare high solid content slurries. The impeller speed and power draw required to ensure all dry powder is incorporated within four seconds of addition to the vessel free surface, NJI and PJI, were used as metrics to determine incorporation performance. Mixed flow pitched blade turbines at D/T = 0.5 were used. The main parameters considered were the impeller pumping direction (up versus down), impeller submergence, eccentricity, and angle of tilt. DoE was used to examine both the independent effects of the main parameters and their interactions.

Pumping mode was found to be the most significant parameter, with down-pumping impellers generally providing the best drawdown and incorporation performance. This is related to the strong interaction between pumping mode and all other parameters, where adding tilt or eccentricity reduced drawdown performance for up-pumping impellers, yet caused improvement in the case of down-pumping impellers.

The optimal geometry from the DoE was found using a down-pumping PBT, 10° tilt, 10% of the vessel diameter eccentricity and placed at an initial submergence of half the liquid height. This geometry is shown to reduce the time required to prepare a 50 wt% slurry by two thirds compared to a generic Rushton turbine design, emphasising the benefits of rational impeller and vessel design.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-78
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Early online date9 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • suspensions , drawdown , floating solids , stirred tank , optimisation