Hydrodynamic Simulation of Cyclone Separators
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Cyclone separators are commonly used for separating dispersed solid particles from gas phase. These devices have simple construction; are relatively inexpensive to fabricate and operate with moderate pressure losses. Therefore, they are widely used in many engineering processes such as dryers, reactors, advanced coal utilization such as pressurized and circulating fluidized bed combustion and particularly for removal of catalyst from gases in petroleum refinery such as in fluid catalytic cracker (FCC). Despite its simple operation, the fluid dynamics and flow structures in a cyclone separator are very complex. The driving force for particle separation in a cyclone separator is the strong swirling turbulent flow. The gas and the solid particles enter through a tangential inlet at the upper part of the cyclone. The tangential inlet produces a swirling motion of gas, which pushes the particles to the cyclone wall and then both phases swirl down over the cyclone wall. The solid particles leave the cyclone through a duct at the base of the apex of the inverted cone while the gas swirls upward in the middle of the cone and leaves the cyclone from the vortex finder. The swirling motion provides a centrifugal force to the particles while turbulence disperses the particles in the gas phase which increases the possibility of the particle entrainment. Therefore, the performance of a cyclone separator is determined by the turbulence characteristics and particle-particle interaction.
Computational Fluid Dynamics
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