Integrated experimental and computational approach to simulation of flow in a stirred tank

H. S. Yoon, K. V. Sharp, D. F. Hill, R. J. Adrian, S. Balachandar, M. Y. Ha, K. Kar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The stirred tank reactor is one of the most commonly used devices in industry for achieving mixing and reaction. We consider a combined experimental/computational approach for the simulation of flow inside a stirred tank. Two sets of experiments are performed to measure the velocity field in the neighborhood of the impeller. The first set of PIV measurements is on six different r-z planes phase locked at 0°, 10°, 20°, 30°, 40° and 50° to the blade location. The second set of PIV measurements is on a curved O-z plane whose radial location is just outside the impeller blade tip radius. Measurements indicate that the impeller-induced flow is dominated by three flow components: a circumferential flow, a tangential jet and pairs of tip vortices. A simple theoretical model is developed for each flow component and their superposition is observed to provide a good description of the impeller-induced flow. The theoretical model is used as a velocity boundary condition for numerical simulation. The impeller-induced boundary condition is fully three dimensional, an important aspect that significantly enriches the mathematical representation of the primary source of motion. The results of two- and three-dimensional simulations are compared with measurements in the interior of the tank.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6635-6649
Number of pages15
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 30 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluid mechanics
  • Mixing
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Rushton turbine
  • Simulation
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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