Mixing in enclosed vessels and in-line is a major activity for all chemical industries; over 50% of chemical production is
carried out in batch stirred vessels. There is a wide variety of mixers available for mixing of liquids, solids and gases in many different combinations and rheological variations. Mixing research is conducted in many institutes and industrial
companies, but there appears to be no sufficiently cohesive
approach to methods of experimental investigation, analysis, mathematical and computational modeling. This Network aims to improve communication and assist in harmonisation of research. Advances in chemical mixing will have wide European
application, being adaptable to process industries such as
Food, Water, Cosmetics, Pharmaceutical etc... The coordination of R&D effort in fluid mixing, through exchange of relevant
information, harmonisation of approach and sharing of
experiences in areas in which problems are common, should
result in reductions of costs, the avoidance of duplicated
effort and minimisation of waste.
An initial Exploratory Phase was completed to identify and
prioritise tasks and gain commitment from partners across
Europe. Three topic areas were identified (Mixing Processes, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Reaction Selectivity). These
three areas were used to form three clusters of interest and the partners were ascribed accordingly.
EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIP
Handling of existing reactors has a major impact on the
profitability and competitiveness of the European chemical
The major social benefits from exploiting the results of the project will be through improved safety, and reductions in
hazardous waste and environmental pollution.
The chemical industries are responsible for approximately 50% of generated hazardous wastes. Some of the most hazardous
waste is created by undesirable reactions in batch reactors. Better control over the reaction processes and the ability to use more effective reaction schemes could halve waste
Improvements in the design, specification and operation of
reactor processes will have major beneficial effects on safety.
Process companies are regularly faced with problems of
equipment selection, process scale up, process improvement and rating of existing equipment for new duties. The key to this selection is in the understanding of the fluid dynamics of the mixing equipment, and how these interact with the chemical and physical requirements of the process.
Generally, industrial processes involve complex rheology fluids and various phases. Vessels vary greatly in shape and size and often involve non-standardised combinations of impellers.
Whilst a great deal of research has been carried out in many institutes and universities, the vast bulk of the work has
concentrated on standardised geometries, relatively simple
fluid properties and combinations. Due to confidentiality
restrictions, the application of thebasic research results to real processes is rarely available at large.
The understanding of the interaction between reaction kinetics and fluid dynamics is crucial to many projects. The
identification of limiting factors, of the influence of
location of addition point can raise the efficiency of a
process dramatically. It requires a review of the models
developed and used by universities and industry - in particular micro mixing models. A review of the experimental
methodologies and how they relate to industrial applications is also necessary.
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