Understanding High Viscosity Mixing

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What is viscosity?

Viscosity is referred to as the thickness of a fluid. Solution viscosity in mixing can have a big effect on the best system for obtaining consistent results. Viscosity is an interaction between different molecules in a fluid, often referred to as internal friction. This internal friction will determine the energy required to make a fluid flow.

Visualising Viscosity

We understand at times there are liquids that are foreign to your experience and their technical data may not always be apparent, so we have prepared this visual representation of viscosity to better aid you in identifying at least a ballpark centipoise value of your liquid.

High Viscosity in Mixing

Optimum mixing results are seen as a uniform, homogeneous solution that is entirely free of agglomerates. This is easily achievable in less viscous solutions of water-like substances whereas obtaining the same results in materials of much higher viscosity can often prove a challenge. In order to achieve homogeneous, consistent results when mixing materials of high viscosity, detailed understanding of the rheologies and agitation forces involved are required.

For solutions under 5,000cP the flow that comes from mixing is considered chaotic and the action of the faces of the impeller blades in the mixer is important and can range from 2 to 10 times the diameter of the blades. Low viscosity solutions have a higher turbulence and extended flow. So in order to understand the fundamentals of high viscosity mixing, an understanding of the nature of flow, worked out by the Reynolds number, needs to be obtained.

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