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Turbulators in Static Mixers & Inline reactors

Agitated vessels  for mixing or reactions can be replaced by pumping the fluids to be mixed through a set of turbulated tubes.

By this intube micromixing it is possible to achieve: 

1)     Online versus batch mixing and reactions.

2)     Significantly lower equipment size.

3)     Significantly Lower power consumption.

4)     Significantly lower mixing time.

5)     For reactions it is possible to coat the turbulators with catalysts or to make them from catalyzing metals.

6)     For reactions it is possible to add or remove heat by housing the turbulated tubes within an exchanger where the heat transfer fluid (either heating or cooling) can be passed through the shell. (steam, hot/ cold water Thermic oil.)

7)     Turbulators are also very useful when fluids need to be mixed in the feed pipe itself before entering a process chamber.

The heart of the process is micromixing.

In an agitated vessal mixing is done by the shear caused by the agitator blades and a lot of energy is consumed in turning the fluids around several times before the mixing is completed.

In a Turbulator based equipment, mixing is done in small tubes which house the turbulators through which the fluids are pumped. Since the diameter of the tube is tiny compared to a vessel and the wire loops effectively agitate the fluids being pumped through, (with minimum pressure drop) very quick, efficient and energy efficient mixing can be achieved at a fraction of the time required for a conventional agitated mixer.


Economies & Efficiencies Achieved :

The material consumed in making the equipment is also a fraction of that used in an agitated mixer for the following reasons:

a) In the case of High pressure processes, material thickness required as per code for a tube expected to contain that pressure is much lower than the thickness required for a vessel. Evan at normal pressures, the vessel would require a much higher thickness.

b) Mixing occurs very fast so the fluids need to be in the equipment for a much shorter time requiring the holding capacity of the equipment to be much less making the equipment once again more compact, cheaper and efficient.

Absence of moving parts (except the external pump)

The absence of moving parts makes the turbulated tube static mixer very easy to maintain unlike the agitator assembly of a conventional agitated vessel.

The turbulators can be removed for cleaning and replaced economically after a certain number of uses.

Ease of Heat exchange

While an agitated vessel will require an external jacket for steam, hot water or chilled water as the case may be, in the case of a turbulated tube static mixer, the turbulators are housed in tubes which form a part of a basically a heat exchanger. Hence controlling the heat transfer requirement of exothermic or endothermic reactions is very easy.

Line Vs batch process

It is sometimes possible to convert batch processes to line processes significantly improving throughput.

Processes where turbulated tube static mixers are useful

1)  For Liquid/ Gas reactions single stage without solid precipitation.

2)  For Liquid/ Liquid single stage reactions without precipitation.

3)  For Liquid/solid single stage reactions where the solid dissolves and there is no precipitate.

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