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Assignment 1

Agitation: Principle and Application

MOHD IZZAT EZMAN B NORZAIMI


55211116205
Introduction

Agitation is putting into motion by shaking or stirring, often to achieve mixing of


the medium in the bioreactor. Mixing process is achieved by using an impeller mounted
in the tank; for use with Newtonian fluids, the ratio of tank diameter to impeller diameter
is normally about 3:1. Mixing the fluids in a tank is very important if there
are gradients in conditions such as temperature or concentration. Stirred tanks are
commonly cylindrical in shape to eliminates sharp corners and pockets into which fluid
currents may not penetrate and discourages formation of stagnant regions. It also
reduces the effort for sterilization and cleaning process.

The agitator is required to achieve several number of mixing objectives:

 Bulk fluid and gas-phase mixing,


 Air dispersion,
 Oxygen transfer,
 Heat transfer,
 Suspension of solid particles and maintain a uniform environment
throughout the vessel contents.
 Enhancement of mass transfer between dispersed phases.

The biological products of fermentation are living organisms with a cell wall of
limited resistance to the fluid shear stress damage. The sensitivity of microbial cells to
shear varies greatly. There has been great concern over the effect that fluid shear has
on yield and productivity of various fermented products. In process of designing the
fermenter or bioreactor to it achieve to certain standard, this will require knowledge of
the most appropriate agitator, air sparger, baffles, the best positions for nutrient feeds,
acid or alkali for pH control and antifoam addition. There will also be a need to specify
agitator size and number, speed and power input. Where is in the case of unknown of
limitation of shear stress of particular organisms, the fermenter mixer should be
designed to minimize fluid shear. The agitation also need to fulfill the minimum speed
requirement to ensure the uniform suspension of microbial activity achieved in a
homogenous nutrient medium.
Figure 1: Respiration Rates of Commonly Used Microbe and Cells in Culture (Liu, 2017)

Agitators may be classified as disc turbines, vaned discs, open turbines of


variable pitch and propellers. The disc turbine consists of a disc with a series of
rectangular vanes set in a vertical plane around the circumference and the vaned disc
has a series of rectangular vanes attached vertically to the underside. Air from the
sparger hits the underside of the disc and is displaced towards the vanes where the air
bubbles are broken up into smaller bubbles. The vanes of a variable pitch open turbine
and provided the agitator speed is high enough, good gas dispersion will occur in low
viscosity broth.
Type of Impellers

Agitators may be classified as disc turbines (a), vaned discs (b), open
turbines of variable pitch (c) and propellers (d). The disc turbine consists of a disc with a
series of rectangular vanes set in a vertical plane around the circumference and the
vaned disc has a series of rectangular vanes attached vertically to the underside. Air
from the sparger hits the underside of the disc and is displaced towards the vanes
where the air bubbles are broken up into smaller bubbles. The vanes of a variable pitch
open turbine and provided the agitator speed is high enough, good gas dispersion will
occur in low viscosity broth.

Figure 2: Type of agitator

The agitator type is depending on certain factors such as type of organism, the air
sparger, the volume of the medium, and the direction of flow (Figure 3) and the viscosity
of medium (figure 4)
Figure 3: Agitator and the direction of flow

Figure 4: Relationships between type of agitator and viscosity

There are some new impellers that have been designed to give suitable axial
flow and excellent oxygen transfer rate (OTR), particularly for non-newtonian medium
broths. Also to overcome problems that associated with the efficiency of bulk blending in
high-viscosity fermentation.

The Scaba 6SRGT agitator (a) is one which at a given power input can handle a
high air flow rate before flooding. This radial-flow agitator is also better for bulk blending
than a Rushton turbine, but does not give top to bottom blending in a large fermenter
which leads to lower concentrations of oxygen in broth away from the agitators and
higher concentration of nutrients, acid or alkali or antifoam near to the feed points.

Prochem Maxflo agitator (c) consists of four, five, or six hydrofoil blade set at a
critical angle on a central hollow hub. A high hydrodynamic thrust is created during
rotation, increasing the downward capacity of the blades. This design minimizes the
drag forces associated with rotation of the agitator such that energy losses due to drag
are low. This leads to low power number. The recommended agitator to vessel diameter
ratio is greater than 0.4. When the agitator is used with 800-dm 3 streptomyces
fermentation, the maximum power requirement at the most viscous stage is about 66%
of that of Rushton turbines. The oxygen transfer efficiency is significantly improved.

Figure 5: New model of impeller a) Scaba 6SRGT b) Lightning A315 (4 blades) c) Prochem Maxflo (Stanbury, Peter
F.;Whitaker, Allan;Hall, Stephen, 2003)
Intermig agitators are more complex in design. Two units are used instead of
single Rushton turbine because their power number is so low. The large diameter
sparger is used to optimize air dispersion. The loss in power is less than when aerating
with a Rushton turbine. The agitator diameter to vessel diameter ratio is usually 0.6 to
0.7 (Jagani et al., 2010)

Figure 6: Intermig agitator

Baffles
Baffle is planted into the bioreactor to augment mixing and gas dispersion. Four
baffles are normally incorporated into agitated vessels of all sizes which are vertical
strips of metal mounted against the wall of the tank, are installed to reduce vortexing
and swirling of the liquid (Doran, 1995) to improve aeration efficiency. Baffles are metal
strips roughly one-tenth of vessel diameter and attached radially to the wall of
bioreactor. The agitation effect is only slightly increased with increase in width of baffles,
but drops sharply with narrower baffles (Stanbury et al., 2003). Baffles should be
installed in such a way that a gap exist between them and vessel wall, so that there is
scouring acting around and behind the baffles thus minimizing microbial growth on the
baffles and fermenter walls. Extra cooling coils may be attached to baffles to improve
the cooling capacity of a fermenter without unduly affecting the geometry. With animal
cell culture, baffles may cause shear damage to the cell. Instead of baffles bottom drive
axial impellers slightly off sight of center is used.
Conclusion

Agitator are major component in the bioreactor. The main purpose of the agitator
is to give good mixing of the air and the medium broth to promote good aeration. It also
is use to give the uniformity to the broth in term of oxygen pH and temperature. The
type of the impeller used is depends on several factors and the present of baffles is to
facilitate the aeration by disrupting the tubular flow in the bioreactor.

Reference

1. Doran, P. M. (1995). Bioprocess Engineering Principles (First Edit). London:


Academic Press Limited.
2. Jagani, N., Jagani, H., Hebbar, K., Gang, S. S., Vasanth Raj, P.,
Chandrashekhar, R. H., & Rao, Jv. (2010). An Overview of Fermenter and the
Design Considerations to Enhance Its Productivity. Pharmacologyonline, 1, 261–
301. https://doi.org/10.1002/sim.6179
3. Liu, S. (2017). “Bioprocess engineering.” ENGINEERING BIOPROCESS
Kinetics, Sustainability, and Reactor Design (Vol. 2).
https://doi.org/10.1016/s0009-2509(02)00006-4
4. Stanbury, Peter F.;Whitaker, Allan;Hall, Stephen, J. (2003). Priniciple of
Fermentation Technology. Vasa, 367.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004