Computational investigation of the mechanisms of particle separation and “fish-hook” phenomenon in hydrocyclones

Authors

  • B. Wang,

    1. Laboratory for Simulation and Modelling of Particulate Systems, School of Materials Science and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    2. Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, P.R. China
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  • A. B. Yu

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory for Simulation and Modelling of Particulate Systems, School of Materials Science and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    • Laboratory for Simulation and Modelling of Particulate Systems, School of Materials Science and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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Abstract

The motion of solid particles and the “fish-hook” phenomenon in an industrial classifying hydrocyclone of body diameter 355 mm is studied by a computational fluid dynamics model. In the model, the turbulent flow of gas and liquid is modeled using the Reynolds Stress Model, and the interface between the liquid and air core is modeled using the volume of fluid multiphase model. The outcomes are then applied in the simulation of particle flow described by the stochastic Lagrangian model. The results are analyzed in terms of velocity and force field in the cyclone. It is shown that the pressure gradient force plays an important role in particle separation, and it balances the centrifugal force on particles in the radial direction in hydrocyclones. As particle size decreases, the effect of drag force whose direction varies increases sharply. As a result, particles have an apparent fluctuating velocity. Some particles pass the locus of zero vertical velocity (LZVV) and join the upward flow and have a certain moving orbit. The moving orbit of particles in the upward flow becomes wider as their size decreases. When the size is below a critical value, the moving orbit is even beyond the LZVV. Some fine particles would recircuit between the downward and upward flows, resulting in a relatively high separation efficiency and the “fish-hook” effect. Numerical experiments were also extended to study the effects of cyclone size and liquid viscosity. The results suggest that the mechanisms identified are valid, although they are quantitatively different. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010

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