Transverse flow and mixing of granular materials in a rotating cylinder

D. V. Khakhar, J. J. McCarthy, Troy Shinbrot, J. M. Ottino

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194 Scopus citations


The focus of this work is analysis of mixing in a rotating cylinder - a prototype system for mixing of granular materials - with the objective of understanding and highlighting the role of flow on the dynamics of the process. The analysis is restricted to low speeds of rotation, when the free surface of the granular solids is nearly flat, and when particles are identical so that segregation is unimportant. The flow is divided into two regions: a rapid flow region of the cascading layer at the free surface, and a fixed bed of particles rotating at the angular speed of the cylinder. A continuum model, in which averages are taken across the layer, is used to analyze the flow in the layer. Good agreement is obtained between the predictions of the flow model for the layer thickness profile and experimental results obtained by digital image analysis. The dynamics of the mixing process are studied by adverting tracer particles by the flow and allowing for particle diffusion in the cascading layer. The mixing model predictions for distribution of tracer particles and mixing rates are compared qualitatively and quantitatively to experimental data. Optimal operating conditions, at which mixing rates are maximum, are determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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