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Modelling a hydrocyclone for fine particle separation Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Liu, Qi (Chemical Engineering)
Hayes, Bob (Chemical Engineering)
Xu,Zhenghe (Chemical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Xu,Zhenghe (Chemical Engineering)
Liu, Qi (Chemical Engineering)
Liu, Shijie (Paper and Bioprocess Engineering)
Hayes, Bob (Chemical Engineering)
Lange, Carlos (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Abstract In this study a complete solution methodology is developed for the simulation of hydrocyclones. A commercial software package, Ansys 12 Fluid Dynamics (Fluent), is used to solve the governing conservation equations. Turbulence is modelled using the large eddy simulation, and the discrete particle model is used to predict the particle separation. Two hydrocyclones of different geometries were studied, and the simulation results are compared with the experimental values. There are two key factors for obtaining a reliable result. The first is the domain discretization, and the second is the generation of a consistent initial value, including the establishment of a stable air core. Using the methodology developed, superior agreement is obtained between the predicted and experimental values of pressure, velocity distribution, air core profile and separation efficiency. The developed and validated model is used to investigate the hydrocyclone performance for separation of light and heavy particles in slurry. The effect of overflow pressure, feed flow rate, particle size, vortex finder length, particle concentration and vortex finder diameter were investigated. The prediction of air core profiles demonstrated the accuracy of the simulation. In terms of design variables increasing the vortex finder length is shown to result in an increase in the recovery of light particles in the overflow. In the case of operating variables, the recovery of light particles in the overflow improved by increasing the size of light particles, feed flow rate and decreasing feed solid concentration. The ratio of the vortex finder diameter to the apex diameter was found to be the most important design factor on the hydrocyclone performance.
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