Mixing assessment of non-cohesive particles in a paddle mixer through experiments and discrete element method (DEM)


A. Lohi, A. Yaraghi, F. Ein-Mozaffari, M. Ebrahimi




Advanced Powder Technology



In this study the mixing kinetics and flow patterns of non-cohesive, monodisperse, spherical particles in a horizontal paddle blender were investigated using experiments, statistical analysis and discrete element method (DEM). EDEM 2.7 commercial software was used as the DEM solver. The experiment and simulation results were found to be in a good agreement. The calibrated DEM model was then utilized to examine the effects of the impeller rotational speed, vessel fill level and particle loading arrangement on the overall mixing quality quantified by the relative standard deviation (RSD) mixing index. The simulation results revealed as the impeller rotational speed was increased from 10 RPM to 40 RPM, generally a better degree of mixing was reached for all particle loading arrangements and vessel fill levels. As the impeller rotational speed was increased further from 40 RPM to 70 RPM the mixing quality was affected, for a vessel fill level of 60% and irrespective of the particle loading arrangement. Increasing the vessel fill level from 40% to 60% enhanced the mixing performance when impeller rotational speed of 40 RPM and 70 RPM were used. However, the mixing quality was independent of vessel fill level for almost all simulation cases when 10 RPM was applied, regardless of the particle loading arrangement. Furthermore, it was concluded that the particle loading arrangement did not have a considerable effect on the mixing index. ANOVA showed that impeller rotational speed had the strongest influence on the mixing quality, followed by the quadratic effect of impeller rotational speed, and lastly the vessel fill level. The granular temperature data indicated that increasing the impeller rotational speed from 10 RPM to 70 RPM resulted in higher granular temperature values. By evaluating the diffusivity coefficient and Peclet number, it was concluded that the dominant mixing mechanism in the current mixing system was diffusion.


Discrete Element Method (DEM), Granular mixing, Mixing kinetics and mechanism, Paddle mixer, RSD index

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