Project Synopsis

Perform a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling study to understand the flow and residence time of a polymer melt material as it passes through a series of polymer aging tanks at a US polymer manufacturing facility.

Project Summary

Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, a large materials and chemical company, to perform a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study to understand the flow and residence time of polymer melt through polymer aging tanks at one of their manufacturing sites.  PROCESS modeled the vessels using MStar CFD software.  A CFD model of the existing agitated tanks was developed using site drawings and fluid rheology data.  PROCESS provided a model visual and numerical information to the client that included the following:

  • Velocity profiles, used to identify potential dead spots in the vessel
  • Simulated dye injection profiles, used to quantify bypassing and the spread of fluid through the vessel
  • Simulated ‘tracer’ particles injection, used to visualize tank residence time behavior (CSTR vs. Plug Flow vs. Bypassing)
  • Residence time distribution function, used to quantify tank behavior (CSTR vs. PF vs. Fluid Bypassing).

The existing model showed significant bypassing of fluid through the tank and identified ‘dead spots’ of stagnant fluid.  PROCESS identified potential tank modifications to eliminate the fluid bypassing and dead spots and presented these to the client.  CFD modeling of the proposed modifications was then performed.  Analysis of the proposed modifications included determining the coefficient of variation (uniformity) and residence time distribution functions for each proposed modification, which allowed for a quantitative comparison of the modification benefits.  The results were used by the client to help select aging tank modifications for a new production line.

Industry Type

Polymer Production


Utilized Skills

  • CFD modelling and results analysis
  • Process equipment modification suggestions.

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