Rotor-stator mixers (RSMs) can be operated in either batch or inline mode. When operating a rotor-stator geometry in batch mode, it typically experiences an order of magnitude higher volumetric flow through the stator than in inline mode. This is expected to cause differences in the flow and turbulence in the rotor-stator region. This study uses computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to study the hydrodynamic differences in and near the stator hole as a function of volumetric flow rates between those experienced in inline and batch modes of operation. It is concluded that both radial flow profiles and turbulent kinetic energy across a range of rotor speeds and flow rates can be described by a velocity ratio: average tangential fluid velocity in the stator hole divided by the rotor tip speed. Moreover, the position where dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy takes place-and hence the effective region of dispersion or mixing-differs between the two modes of operation. The relative importance of the two regions can be described in terms of the velocity ratio and the transition can be predicted based on the relative power input due to rotational and pumping power of the mixer. This study provides a starting point for understanding differences between emulsification efficiency between inline and batch modes of operation with relevance for both equipment design and process scale-up.
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