Contents > Mixing > Mixing Equipment Print   this page

About the book
Material and energy

Fluid-flow theory
Fluid-flow applications
Heat-transfer theory

separation processes


Size reduction
Index to Figures
Index to Examples
Useful links
Feedback (email link)



Liquid Mixers
Powder and Particle Mixers
Dough and Paste Mixers

Many forms of mixers have been produced from time to time but over the years a considerable degree of standardization of mixing equipment has been reached in different branches of the food industry. Possibly the easiest way in which to classify mixers is to divide them according to whether they mix liquids, dry powders, or thick pastes.

Liquid Mixers

For the deliberate mixing of liquids, the propeller mixer is probably the most common and the most satisfactory. In using propeller mixers, it is important to avoid regular flow patterns such as an even swirl round a cylindrical tank, which may accomplish very little mixing. To break up these streamline patterns, baffles are often fitted, or the propeller may be mounted asymmetrically.

Various baffles can be used and the placing of these can make very considerable differences to the mixing performances. It is tempting to relate the amount of power consumed by a mixer to the amount of mixing produced, but there is no necessary connection and very inefficient mixers can consume large amounts of power.

Powder and Particle Mixers

The essential feature in these mixers is to displace parts of the mixture with respect to other parts. The ribbon blender, for example, shown in Fig. 12.2(a) consists of a trough in which rotates a shaft with two open helical screws attached to it, one screw being right-handed and the other left-handed. As the shaft rotates sections of the powder move in opposite directions and so particles are vigorously displaced relative to each other.

FIG.12.2 Mixers (a) ribbon blender, (b) double-cone mixer
Figure 12.2 Mixers (a) ribbon blender, (b) double-cone mixer

A commonly used blender for powders is the double-cone blender in which two cones are mounted with their open ends fastened together and they are rotated about an axis through their common base. This mixer is shown in Fig. 12.2(b).

Dough and Paste Mixers

Dough and pastes are mixed in machines that have, of necessity, to be heavy and powerful. Because of the large power requirements, it is particularly desirable that these machines mix with reasonable efficiency, as the power is dissipated in the form of heat, which may cause substantial heating of the product. Such machines may require jacketing of the mixer to remove as much heat as possible with cooling water.

Perhaps the most commonly used mixer for these very heavy materials is the kneader which employs two contra-rotating arms of special shape, which fold and shear the material across a cusp, or division, in the bottom of the mixer. The arms are of so-called sigmoid shape as indicated in Fig. 12.3.

FIG. 12.3 Kneader
Figure 12.3 Kneader

They rotate at differential speeds, often in the ratio of nearly 3:2. Developments of this machine include types with multiple sigmoid blades along extended troughs, in which the blades are given a forward twist and the material makes its way continuously through the machine.

Another type of machine employs very heavy contra-rotating paddles, whilst a modern continuous mixer consists of an interrupted screw which oscillates with both rotary and reciprocating motion between pegs in an enclosing cylinder. The important principle in these machines is that the material has to be divided and folded and also displaced, so that fresh surfaces recombine as often as possible.


To top of pageBack to the top

Unit Operations in Food Processing. Copyright © 1983, R. L. Earle. :: Published by NZIFST (Inc.)
NZIFST - The New Zealand Institute of Food Science & Technology