Positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) compared to particle image velocimetry (PIV) for studying the flow generated by a pitched-blade turbine in single phase and multi-phase systems

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Positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) is a new technique allowing the quantitative study of flow phenomena in three dimensions in opaque systems that cannot be studied by techniques based on optical methods such as particle image velocimetry (PIV) or laser Doppler anemometry (LDA). It has previously been used for studying solid particle motion in various systems used in particulate processing. Here. for the first time, velocity measurements made using PEPT with a down-pumping pitched blade turbine (PBTD) are compared directly with those made by PIV in water in the same equipment. It is shown that excellent agreement is found between the two methods except just below the impeller in the discharge. However, this difference is attributed to the different type of data collected and the different way of ensemble-averaging in the two techniques. Similar results were found at higher agitator speeds with both the PBTD and an up-pumping PBT (PBTU) where a small amount of surface aeration occurred. Measurements in solid liquid systems with surface aeration at 0.5 wt% solids or higher were not possible with PIV, but excellent results were obtained with PEPT for both the PBTD and PBTU in a 5 wt% suspension. It is concluded that this calibration study shows that the PEPT technique can be used to obtain accurate velocity data throughout all of the complex three-dimensional flow field in a range of mechanically agitated, turbulent, multi-phase systems previously not amenable to quantitative analysis. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4955-4968
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Stirred tank, PIV, PEPT, Solid suspension, Surface aeration, Pitched blade turbine