An experimental study was conducted to investigate the mixing processes downstream of a forced mixer. A forced mixer generates large scale, axial (stirring) vorticity which causes the primary and secondary flow to mix rapidly with low loss. These devices have been successfully used in the past where enhanced mixing of two streams was a requirement. Unfortunately, details of the mixing process associated with these lobed forced mixers are not well understood. Performance sensitivity to design variables has not been documented. An experiment was set up to investigate the mixing processes downstream of a mixer. Air flow was independently supplied to each side of the forced mixer by separate centrifugal blowers. Pressures were measured at the entrance to the lobes with a pitot-static probe to document the characteristics of the approaching boundary layer. Interior mean and fluctuating velocities were nonintrusively measured using a two-component Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) system for velocity ratios of 1:1 and 2:1. The wake structure is shown to display a three step process where initially secondary flow was generated by the mixer lobes, the secondary flow created counter-rotating vortices with a diameter on the order of the convolute width, and then the vortices broke down resulting in a significant increase in turbulent mixing. The results show that the mean secondary motion induced by the lobes effectively circulated the flow passing through the lobes. This motion, however, did not homogeneously mix the two streams. Turbulent mixing in the third step of the mixing process appears to be an important element in the enhanced mixing that has been observed with forced mixers. The length required for the flow to reach this third step is a function of the velocity ratio across the mixer. The results of this investigation indicate that both the mean secondary motion and the turbulent mixing occurring after vortex breakdown need to be considered for prediction of forced mixer performance.

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