Characterization of granular flow of wet solids in a bladed mixer

Azzeddine Lekhal, Stephen L. Conway, Benjamin J. Glasser, Johannes G. Khinast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In this study, we measure instantaneous, average, and fluctuating velocity fields at exposed surfaces for dry and wet grains in a vertical cylindrical mixer, agitated by four pitched blades. When the material is dry, the free surface of the granular bed deforms, rising where the blades are present, and falling between blade passes. Although average velocities are predominantly azimuthal, instantaneous velocities tracked in time reveal three-dimensional particle circulations, including significant periods of particle motion in the opposite direction to that of the blades, indicative of bed penetration. When moisture is added to the solid particles, the flow dynamics change from a regime dominated by the motion of individual grains to a regime controlled by the motion of small clumps that form as a result of the cohesive forces. This transition is characterized by a reduced particle-particle collision frequency and exhibits a sharp decrease in the granular temperature at the free surface. This transition is also characterized by an increase in bed porosity, which is attributed to increased cohesiveness arising from liquid bridges. A Fourier transform analysis conducted on the tangential component of the velocities (dominant flow) shows that a group of high frequencies exceeding the blade rotation frequency become significant with added moisture. These are characteristics of the large number of wet agglomerates flowing between successive blade passes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2757-2766
Number of pages10
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


  • Granular material
  • Granular temperature
  • PIV
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Wet cohesion

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