What is high-shear mixing?
A high shear mixer is used to disperse an ingredient – which can take form of any phase – into a main continuous liquid solution. The rotor works in conjunction with the stator, used within either a tank containing solution to be mixed or in an enclosed pip in which the solution passes through – creating shear. High Shear mixers are used to create emulsions, suspensions, disperse and disintegrate product in solution.
Principle of Operation
Fluid undergoes shear when one are of fluid travels with a different velocity relative to an adjacent area. A high shear mixer uses a rotating high-speed rotor blade powered by an electric motor to work the fluid, creating flow and shear. The tip velocity will be higher than the velocity at the centre of the rotor and it is this velocity difference that creates shear. A stationary component can be used in combination with the rotor, and is referred to as the stator. The stator creates a close-clearance gap between the rotor and the inner walls of the stator forming and extremely high shear zone for the material as it exists the rotor. Combining the rotor and stator is called a mixing head. Key design factors include the diameter of the rotor and its rotational speed, the rotor and the stator, the time in the mixer and the number of mixing heads in the series. High shear rotor blades can be viewed here.
Why use a high-shear mixer over a simple agitator?
High shear mixers are a suited choice for blending of viscous materials to create a smooth homogenous and agglomerate free-product. Some applications, such as the manufacture of mayonnaise and like-food products rely on high-shear mixing techniques in order to create a stable emulsion that will not break down, giving it the ability to maintain a longer shelf life. Other mixers and agitators perform their results for simple duties, for example, blending like-viscosity liquids, providing in-tank uniformity and promoting heat-transfer in jacketed vessels. When it comes to blending liquids of varying viscosities, emulsifying, disintegrating, dispersing of powders or reduce particle size, a simple agitator needs to be replaced with a high shear mixer in order to achieve uniformity and accelerating reactions.
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