Numerical simulations of thixotropic semi-solid aluminium alloys in open-rotor and rotor-stator mixers
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This research uses the Bautista-Manero-Puig (BMP) model to examine flow patterns of semi-solid aluminium alloys (Al) in open-rotor and stator-rotor mixers via numerical solutions. The model captures the distinct thixo-viscoelastic behavior of the Al-alloys at low temperatures, near melting point. The analysis involves using 2D structured-meshes for open-rotor and rotor-stator geometries. Solutions for Newtonian and thixo-viscoelastic model fluids are reported through fields of velocity, strain-rate, stress, fluidity, and streamlines, revealing distinct features. Findings reveal nonlinear thixo-viscoelastic vortex patterns that vary with rotational speed, resulting in different fluidity and stress profiles compared to the invariant response of Newtonian fluids. At lower rotational speeds, rotor-pallets are dominated by structured material that gradually becomes unstructured to cover the outer vessel walls. When including a stator, the inner stator region resembles the Newtonian solution, but the outflow through stator gaps is reduced due to flow-structure levels outside. This information is of interest for industrial design and optimization of molten Al-alloy processing.