The aim of this work was to experimentally investigate the influence of impeller off-bottom clearance on crystal growth kinetics of disodium tetraborate decahydrate (borax) in a dual-impeller batch cooling crystallizer. Examinations were carried out in a crystallizer of 15 dm3 with liquid height to crystallizer diameter ratio (H/dT) of 1.3. In this research, two pitched blade turbines (PBT) with diameter D/dT=0.33, were mounted on the same shaft with a constant spacing between impellers (s/D=1.0). Mixing was performed at the impeller speed which ensured the state of complete suspension in the system (N=NJS). The impeller off-bottom clearance (C/D) was varied from 0.2 to 1.3. Crystallization was carried out by a controlled cooling of the solution saturated at 30°C. Concentration of the solution was measured in line by potentiometric method, while the changes of crystal size over time were determined by optical microscope and image analysis software.
Experimental results indicate that impeller off-bottom clearance influences the change of crystal size over process time. But, regardless of the impeller off-bottom clearance, crystal growth is integration limited. The value of an order of crystal growth rate changes insignificantly with C/D ratio, while the crystal growth rate constant is affected by the change in hydrodynamics. Obtained results are a consequence of the hydrodynamic conditions in the dual-impeller crystallizer. In order to analyse the overall fluid flow pattern, in which an interaction of the flows generated by each of the impellers occurred, photographs of the flows were taken and simulations by VisiMix 2000 Turbulent were made. Taking into account the values of kinetic parameters of crystal growth, characteristic of obtained crystals, power consumption and the overall fluid flow pattern, it is possible to define the impact of impeller off-bottom clearance on borax crystal growth kinetics.