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Characterization of Oxygen Mass Transfer in Viscous Fluids


Conclusions and Impact


Many design considerations have enhanced this project to provide a good launching point for future work. First and foremost, an inert system was created such that sodium sulfite is only interacting with the oxygen; this was done through the selection of PEG as an inert solvent and the replacement of the copper sparger used in previous research. In addition, the selection of PEG meets the majority of the sponsor requirements regarding the fluid:

  • Oxygen soluble
  • Easily used viscosity modifier
  • Highly inert
  • Behaves as a Newtonian fluid below a shear rate of 1000 s-1.

The only issue regarding this fluid is compatibility with probes, which will be discussed more in the Future Works section below. In addition, a clearly defined Python script and fluid mixing system for comparison of the dynamic and excess sodium sulfite method was created and made to be passed on.

Future Work

For further development of this project, it is advised that future groups allocate an appropriate amount of time throughout the semester to troubleshoot and diagnose oxygen concentration issues that may present themselves.

Furthermore, researching various probes that can fully work in more viscous and cloudy solutions is advised to avoid the problems faced with the Vernier and YSI probes used in this project.

Another recommendation for future work is to perform the scale-down beaker trials before using the fluid mixer tank. This would allow for less materials to be initially used and going through with this route would provide important preliminary expectations for what may or may not happen in the fluid mixer tank.

Finally, researching on additional viscosity modifiers and specifically those that may be Non-Newtonian could prove to be worthwhile. This recommendation depends on SPXFlow’s overall project scope, but this would open up a wider candidate fluid pool for testing and potentially use as a solute for the fluid mixer. With this recommendation in mind, future groups would need to derive their own shear curves with Non-Newtonian fluids, but the overall flexibility of the project would be immense with this addition.


The team would like to thank Sarah Lanzafame and Kevin Logsdon from SPX Flow for not only providing an intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking project which challenged our knowledge on chemical engineering principles, but also for their help in acquiring design equipment to move the project forward.

The team would also like to extend a huge thank you to project advisors Prof. David Foster and Clair Cunningham as well as Prof. Melodie Lawton, Prof. Doug Kelley, Prof. Mark Juba, and Rachel Monfredo. Without their guidance and input this project would not be possible.

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