Computational Characterization of Continuous Mixers Using Discrete Element Modeling Techniques
Atul Dubey and Fernando J. Muzzio. Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers University, 98 Brett Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854
Granular mixing is an important process in a multitude of areas including but not limited to pharmaceuticals, food science, cosmetics manufacturing, and geological studies. In the pharmaceutical field, there is an incentive to move from batch mixing towards continuous mixing. Continuous mixing offers the advantage of added process control and manipulation, faster processing times and better control on the end product's content uniformity. Lately there has been a lot of emphasis on characterizing continuous blenders under specific operating conditions. However, computational methods have not been widely utilized to study continuous mixers. Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) offers a way to study and analyze the performance of such mixers. With the availability of increased computational power and commercial programs, it is now possible to quickly simulate and analyze many cases with varying test conditions. This study reports computational characterization of two commercial continuous blenders under a set of operating conditions defined by blade geometries and rotational speeds, blender processing angles, and the degree of cohesion in the ingredients.