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CSIRO develops new generation heat exchanger 'RAMeX'

Jun '07
The new heat exchange technology is based on CSIRO's RAM Mixer technology developed by CSIRO Manufacturing & Materials Technology fluid dynamics laboratories based in Melbourne.

The RAMeX offers a new method of mixing and heat exchange for highly viscous fluids without the need for the current methods of using stirrers, impellers and plates.

There are a range of industrial applications suited to the RAMeX where a low shear and a high performance homogenizing mixer and heat exchanger offer advantages. These include the diary industry, cosmetics manufacturing, sugar making and the more efficient mixing of explosives compounds where poor mixing often leads to poor performance.

A RAMeX bio-reactor can also be used for mixing viscous cell cultures with nutrients and oxygen. Candidate bio-products include astaxathin (an aquaculture food additive) and xanthan gum (a common thickening and emulsion additive in food products, and for oil drilling muds) which have intrinsically large processing viscosities.

The chaotic mixing produced in the RAMeX creates very fine-scale structures within a polymer melt ideal for difficult new applications such as electrically conducting polymers.

The developers of the RAMeX, Dr Guy Metcalfe and Dr Murray Rudman said before building the original RAM Mixer, the concept was developed mathematically. They said the prototype proved its potential to revolutionise traditional mixing technology.

“After this, enthusiastic responses from potential users provided us feedback which has led to the development of the CSIRO RAMeX,” Dr Metcalfe said.

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