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High Shear Mixing - Frequently Asked Questions

In this blog, we answer some of the commonly asked questions that relate to high shear mixers and the mixing process. If you have a question that this article does not cover, please feel free to contact our team, who will be happy to help!

What is High Shear Mixing?

High shear mixing is commonly used for homogenization, dispersion, emulsification or particle size reduction.

Ordinary agitation-type mixers essentially rely on mechanical stirring to blend two or more substances. Most of these inherently “low shear” devices are capable of reliably performing simple mixing jobs well. Yet their effectiveness largely depends on the viscosity and certain other properties of the ingredients to be mixed.

Agitation-type mixers are effective for blending liquids of similar viscosities. However, they may have difficulty blending ingredients of different viscosities uniformly.

Mixing liquids of different viscosities or achieving homogenization, emulsification, dispersion, particle size reduction, reaction acceleration, or solubilization can be difficult. Agitation-type mixers may not be enough to complete the job.

These workhorse machines are inherently inferior to high shear mixer machines for many of the more demanding tasks.

How does a High Shear mixer work?

Shear is the stress that a mixing blade or impeller imparts to a liquid. A high-speed rotor in a liquid mixer or powder disperser directs material outwards toward a stationary stator, creating shear in the process. This is accomplished by pushing different parts of an object in opposite directions within the same plane.

Variable rotor speeds provide the ability to uniquely tailor the amount of shear energy that is needed for each application. This processing technique can be used to mix a liquid, solid, or gas into a liquid with which it ordinarily would not easily mix.

What does shear mean when mixing?

The term shear refers to the stress imparted to a liquid by a mixing blade or impeller.

What does a high shear mixer do?

Industrial high shear mixers can be used to create emulsions, suspensions and granular products. It is commonly used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries to emulsify, homogenize, and reduce particle size.

What is a high shear mixer?

High shear mixers are agitators that can be used to achieve more difficult solid-liquid dispersions and emulsions than high-speed dispersers.

What is the difference between a high shear mixer and a high-pressure homogenizer?

While high-pressure homogenizers require high amounts of energy to create pressure differentials for homogenization or size-reduction of ingredients, high-speed rotor/stator mixers use shearing action to bridge the gap between traditional mixers and high-pressure homogenizers.

This allows for size reduction down to the submicron level, making high-shear mixing equipment an efficient and effective solution for particle size reduction.

high shear mixer homogenizer wet mill

What is an inline high shear mixer and how is it different from batch mixer?

An inline mixer features an inlet that feeds ingredients perpendicularly into the shearing zone, and an outlet discharging product axially. Unlike a batch mixer, an inline mixer feeds and outputs material in a continuous stream.

The material is then often perfectly hydrated, emulsified, or homogenized in a single pass. Batch mixers require ingredients to be mixed for more extended periods of time in a tank, and 100% dispersion is rarely achieved lowering product yields and wasting valuable ingredients.

Inline high-shear mixing offers a few advantages over batch mixers. They allow for a more controlled mixing environment, they are less bulky, they allow for continuous inline mixing and they can produce results within a fraction of the time.

What are the practical applications of high-shear mixing?

High shear mixing is typically used in the following applications:

  • Liquid-liquid emulsification and homogenization
  • Varying viscosities of liquid-liquid mixing
  • Solid-liquid suspension
  • Powder-liquid dispersion
  • Particle size reduction

What are some everyday consumer goods that a high shear mixer can create?

High-shear mixing equipment excels at dispersing difficult-to-wet powders and rheology modifiers. Many consumer products require the mixing or dispersion of liquid or solid compounds. Including

  • Salad dressings
  • paints
  • cosmetics
  • detergents
  • shampoo
  • ointments

Do high shear lab mixers exist?

Using a laboratory high shear mixer is a practical option for those with liquid processing needs. It is a way to test the technology with different applications. It is a fast, easy way for your R&D team to test processing methods and formulas before moving to larger production levels.

What is the cost of an Industrial High Shear Mixer?

Like any capital expense, your investment in a high shear mixing unit will depend on your processing application and processing needs. Purchasing an inline high shear mixer can be beneficial. It shortens production time, improves product yields, increases capacities, and reduces manufacturing and maintenance costs. These savings result in a high return on investment.

Why is particle size distribution so important?

Tightly controlled particle size reduction is often crucial to the success of a given process. High shear mixers excel at this particular task. Solid raw materials are sometimes introduced in pre-micronized form, but they can clump together again during storage or processing.

High shear mixers can break up clumps and be adjusted to create a set particle size within specific ranges.

Tighter particle size distributions mean more of your solid particles will fall within the desired size range, ensuring consistency, uniformity and optimal performance of your final product.

Depending on the machine used, you can expect to achieve micron or sub-micron particle sizes with minimal effort and relatively quickly. In some instances, making the switch to a high shear mixer can help you realize substantial process time savings.

Quadro Liquids is the industry leader in high-efficiency, single-pass processing. We pride ourselves on our dedication to innovation, superior products and excellent service. 

Which high-shear mixing equipment is right for my needs?

The processing experts and High Shear Mixer Manufacturer Quadro Liquids can help you determine which high-shear mixer is the best option for your application.

Whether you are looking at inline mixing or batch mixing solutions, powder dispersion, or liquid-liquid mixing, we can help you find a solution to your critical application. Contact our team today!

Multitasking Mixing Machines

High shear mixers are essential equipment used in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals to food, fine chemicals, cosmetics, personal care products and more.

High shear mixers are often used for homogenization. They operate at exceptionally high velocities. Conventional rotor-stator mills cannot achieve homogenization up to the required task. For example, any application requiring submicron homogenizing, high shear wet milling, or suspension micronization can be achieved more efficiently with a high velocity homogenizer.

The reason is simple: High shear mixers deliver far more shear energy than agitation-type mixers.

The significant increase in shear power generated during high shear mixing provides the energy needed to achieve difficult emulsification, homogenization, etc. Even better, high shear mixers are usually able to complete a given job in less time and shorter process times can translate into significant savings when you consider that greater yields may be achieved using less energy.

Any process that involves homogenization is best achieved with a high shear mixer. That’s because homogenization can only be attained when particles — whether liquid globules or solids — reach a uniform size. 

Quadro HV high shear homogenizer

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Posted by Matt Baumber


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In nearly 20 years of delivering the most efficient high shear mixing and processing solutions to our customers worldwide. Quadro® Liquids technology has never allowed conventional thinking to get in the way. 

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