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Facts at your Fingertips: Cyclone Separators

By Scott Jenkins |

Removing solids from a stream of air or other gases is an important operation across virtually all sectors of the chemical process industries (CPI). In many cases, gas-solid separation is motivated by the need to reduce environmental impact and health hazards, as in removing particulate matter from exhaust gas. In solids-processing operations, such as milling, grinding, packaging and others, it is often necessary to remove dust from air to recover product or protect equipment. This one-page reference focuses on one type of gas-solid separator: the cyclone. Operating principles A cyclone works on the principle of inertial separation. A stream of dust-laden air or gas is introduced tangentially to the top of a vertically oriented, cylindrical collection chamber with a conical, tapered end at the bottom. The manner by which the gas enters the chamber creates a helical airflow pattern, where the gas rotates down the chamber toward the tapered bottom (Figure 1). The swirling motion of the gas has two components — a downward-directed spiral movement for the outer stream, and a rotating, upward-moving inner stream. Due to their greater mass, solid particles contained in the gas stream are pushed outward due to the centrifugal force that…
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