Effects of Oxygen and Air Mixing on Void Fractions in a Large Scale System
Robert A. Leishear, Engineering Laboratory / Fluids and Heat Transfer laboratory, Savannah River National Laboratory, 205 Longleaf Court, Aiken, SC 29803
Oxygen and air mixing with spargers was performed in a 30 foot tall by 30 inch diameter column, to investigate mass transfer as air sparged up through the column and removed saturated oxygen from solution. The mixing techniques required to support this research are the focus of this paper. The fluids tested included water, water with an anti-foam agent (AFA), and a high, solids content, Bingham plastic, nuclear waste simulant with AFA, referred to as AZ01 simulant. Mixing of fluids in the column was performed using a recirculation system and an air sparger. The re-circulation system consisted of the column, a re-circulating pump, and associated piping. The air sparger was fabricated from a two inch diameter pipe concentrically installed in the column and open near the bottom of the column. The column contents were slowly re-circulated while fluids were mixed with the air sparger. Samples were rheologically tested to ensure effective mixing, as required. Once the fluids were adequately mixed, oxygen was homogeneously added through the re-circulation loop using a sintered metal oxygen sparger followed by a static mixer. Then the air sparger was re-actuated to remove oxygen from solution as air bubbled up through solution. To monitor mixing effectiveness several variables were monitored, which included flow rates, oxygen concentration, differential pressures along the column height, fluid levels, and void fractions, which are defined as the percent of dissolved gas divided by the total volume of gas and liquid. Research showed that mixing was uniform for water and water with AFA, but mixing for the AZ101 fluid was far more complex. Although mixing of AZ101 was uniform throughout most of the column, gas entrapment and settling of solids significantly affected test results. The detailed test results presented here provide some insight into the complexities of mixing and void fractions for different fluids and how the mixing process itself affects void fractions in Bingham plastic fluids, which have a measurable yield stress.