Numerical modeling of helical static mixers for water treatment

S. Casey Jones, Fotis Sotiropoulos, Appiah Amirtharajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


To improve the understanding of how static mixers work and how to better utilize them in environmental engineering (or, specifically, drinking water treatment), a numerical model for simulating turbulent flows in helical static mixers is developed. The model solves the three-dimensional, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations, closed with the k-ω turbulence model, using a second-order-accurate finite-volume numerical method. Numerical simulations are carried out for a two-element helical static mixer, and the computed results are analyzed to elucidate the complex, three-dimensional features of the flow. The results show that the flow field within the mixer is characterized by the presence of pockets of reversed flow and the growth and interaction of strong longitudinal vortices. As an example of the kind of practical insights that can be gained from such detailed three-dimensional computations, the simulated flow field is used to investigate two quantities that are often used to characterize mixing within a static mixer and to discuss the merits of these quantities for coagulant mixing in drinking water treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002


  • Mixing
  • Numerical models
  • Potable water
  • Water treatment


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