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Cyclone Design

21

Cyclones are very common particulate control devices used in many applications,

especially those where relatively large particles need to be collected. They are not

very efficient for collecting small particles because small particles have little mass

that can generate a centrifugal force. Cyclones are very simple devices that use

centrifugal force to separate particles from a gas stream. They commonly are con-

structed of sheet metal, although other materials can be used. They have a low capital

cost, small space requirement, and no moving parts. Of course, an external device,

such as a blower or other source of pressure, is required to move the gas stream.

Cyclones are able to handle very heavy dust loading, and they can be used in high-

temperature gas streams. Sometimes they are lined with castable refractory material

to resist abrasion and to insulate the metal body from high-temperature gas.

A typical cyclone is illustrated in Figure 21.1. It has a tangential inlet to a

cylindrical body, causing the gas stream to be swirled around. Particles are thrown

toward the wall of the cyclone body. As the particles reach the stagnant boundary

layer at the wall, they leave the flowing gas stream and presumably slide down the

wall, although some particles may be re-entrained as they bounce off of the wall

back into the gas stream. As the gas loses energy in the swirling vortex, it starts

spinning inside the vortex and exits at the top.

The vortex finder tube does not create the vortex or the swirling flow. Its function

is to prevent short-circuiting from the inlet directly to the outlet. Cyclones will work

without a vortex finder, although the efficiency will be reduced.

When a particle moves at a constant speed in a circular direction, the velocity vector

changes continuously in direction, although not in magnitude. This creates acceler-

ation resulting from a change in direction of the velocity, which is just as real and

just as much an acceleration as that arising from the change in the magnitude of

velocity. By definition, acceleration is the time rate of change of velocity, and

velocity, being a vector, can change in direction as well as magnitude. Force, of

course, is defined by Newton’s Second Law (F = ma). Centrifugal force is given by:

mV 2

F= (21.1)

r

where

F = centrifugal force

m = mass of particle

V = velocity of particle, assumed to equal inlet gas velocity

r = radius of cyclone body

9588ch21 frame Page 306 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

to move particles to the cyclone wall, a simple mistake in the piping configuration,

shown in Figure 21.2a, reduces efficiency. Ensure that particles are given a head

start in the right direction by using the configuration shown in Figure 21.2b.

Several factors that affect collection efficiency can be predicted. Increasing the inlet

velocity increases the centrifugal force, and therefore the efficiency, but it also

increases the pressure drop. Decreasing the cyclone diameter also increases centrif-

ugal force, efficiency, and pressure drop. Increasing the gas flow rate through a given

cyclone has the effect of efficiency shown in Equation 21.2:

0.5

Pt 2 Q1

= (21.2)

Pt 1 Q 2

where

Pt = penetration (Pt = 1 – η)

η = particle removal efficiency

Q = volumetric gas flow

9588ch21 frame Page 307 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

force is reduced. Centrifugal force drives the particle toward the wall of the cyclone,

while drag opposes the centrifugal force. The terminal velocity of the particle toward

the wall is the result of the force balance between the centrifugal and drag forces.

Increasing gas to particle density difference affects penetration as shown in

Equation 21.3:

0.5

Pt 2 µ 2

= (21.3)

Pt1 µ1

where: µ = gas viscosity. Note that decreasing the gas temperature increases the gas

density, but contrary to intuition, decreases the gas viscosity, which reduces drag

force and results in a small efficiency improvement. However, decreasing the gas

temperature also decreases the volumetric flow rate, which affects efficiency as

described above in Equation 21.2.

Finally, particle loading also affects efficiency. High dust loading causes particles

to bounce into each other as they move toward the wall, driving more particles

toward the wall and their removal.

0.18

Pt 2 L1

= (21.4)

Pt1 L 2

9588ch21 frame Page 308 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

ventional and high-throughput cyclones. It simply demonstrates that the dimensions

of the cyclones can be tuned to the application. Figure 21.4 and Table 21.1 illustrate

typical cyclone dimensions. Relative dimensions are based upon the diameter of the

body of the cyclones. High-efficiency cyclones tend to have long, narrow bodies,

while high-throughput cyclones generate less pressure drop with fat bodies.

The force balance between centrifugal and drag forces determines the velocity of

the particles toward the wall. Resident time of particles in the cyclone, which allows

time for particles to move toward the wall, is determined by the number of effective

turns that the gas path makes within the cyclone body. An empirical relationship for

the number of effective turns is provided in Equation 21.5:

1 L

Ne = L + c (21.5)

H b 2

where

Ne = number of effective turns

H = height of the tangential inlet

Lb = length of cyclone body

Lc = length of cyclone lower cone

terminal velocity with the residence time resulting from a distance traveled in the

cyclone. This force and time balance results in Equation 21.6:

9588ch21 frame Page 309 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

TABLE 21.1

Typical Cyclone Dimensions

High Efficiency Standard High Throughput

Inlet width W/D 0.21 0.25 0.35

Gas exit diameter De /D 0.4 0.5 0.75

Body length Lb /D 1.4 1.75 1.7

Cone length Lc /D 2.5 2.0 2.0

Vortex finder S/D 0.5 0.6 0.85

Dust outlet diameter Dd /D 0.4 0.4 0.4

0.5

x 9µW

d px = (21.6)

(

100 π N e Vi ρp − ρg )

where

dpx = diameter of a particle with x% removal efficiency

µ = viscosity

9588ch21 frame Page 310 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

W = inlet width

Ne = number of effective turns

Vi = inlet velocity

ρp = density of particle

ρg = density of gas

Unfortunately, the theoretical efficiency relationship derived above does not correlate

well with real data. The relationship works reasonably well for determining the 50%

cut diameter (the diameter of the particle that is collected with 50% efficiency). To

better match data with reasonable accuracy, the efficiency of other particle diameters

can be determined from Lapple’s empirical efficiency correlation,1 which is shown

in Figure 21.5. This correlation can be set up for automated calculations using the

algebraic fit given by Equation 21.7:

1

ηj = 2 (21.7)

d

1 + p 50

d pj

9588ch21 frame Page 311 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

where

ηj = collection efficiency of particle with diameter j

dp50 = diameter of particles with 50% collection efficiency

dpj = diameter of particle j

Lapple’s efficiency curve was developed from measured data for cyclones with

the “standard” dimensions shown in Table 21.1. The efficiency curve can be tailored

for different industrial cyclone dimensions by adding a slope parameter, B, to the

correlation:

1

ηj = B (21.8)

d

1 + p 50

d pj

Figure 21.6 illustrates the effect of the slope parameter, B. Note that the larger

value for B results in a sharper cut. Since more mass is associated with larger

particles, the sharper cut results in higher overall mass removal efficiency.

Other models have been developed to predict cyclone performance. One is the Leith

and Licht model2 shown in Equation 21.9:

9588ch21 frame Page 312 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

(

η = 1 − exp − Ψ d M

p ) (21.9)

1

M= (21.9a)

m +1

T

0.3

m = 1 − 1 − 0.67D0c .14

( )

283

(21.9b)

M

K Qρp C′ (m + 1) 2

Ψ = 2 (21.9c)

18 µ D3C

where

dp = particle diameter in meters

DC = cyclone body diameter in meters

T = gas temperature, °K

K = dimensional geometric configuration parameter

Q = volumetric gas flow

ρp = particle density

C′ = cunningham slip correction factor

µ = gas viscosity

figuration. Table 21.2 shows relative dimensions for three types of cyclones: the

standard cyclone, the Stairmand design,3 and the Swift design.4 Note that the Stair-

mand and the Swift cyclones have smaller inlet openings than the standard design,

which means a higher inlet velocity for the same size body. This results in more

centrifugal force and increased efficiency. In the Leith and Licht model, a larger

geometric configuration parameter results in a higher predicted efficiency.

TABLE 21.2

Geometric Configuration Parameter

Standard Stairmand Swift

Inlet width W/D 0.25 0.2 0.21

Gas exit diameter De /D 0.5 0.5 0.4

Body length Lb /D 2.0 1.5 1.4

Cone length Lc /D 2.0 2.5 2.5

Vortex finder S/D 0.625 0.5 0.5

Dust outlet diameter Dd /D 0.25 0.375 0.4

Geometric configuration paramater K 402.9 551.3 699.2

9588ch21 frame Page 313 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

Efficiency models are adequate for getting a fair idea of performance, but there can

be a rather wide variation in model predictions. Part, but not all, of the variation

can be explained by empirical factors for the cyclone configuration. Figure 21.7

shows cyclone efficiency curves as a function of particle diameter based on several

sources. Each curve is based upon the same gas flow and gas and particle conditions.

The lowest efficiency is predicted by Lapple’s curve for a standard cyclone. Inter-

estingly, the Leith and Licht model for the same standard cyclone predicts a signif-

icantly higher efficiency. The Leith and Licht model for the higher efficiency Stair-

mand and Swift cyclone designs shows incremental improvement over the standard

design. Vendor data also were collected for the same set of gas and particle condi-

tions, with significant predicted performance improvement. Perhaps the vendors

were being overoptimistic about their designs, or perhaps there have been significant

improvements in cyclone design over the years. It does point out that performance

guarantees for cyclones must be written with specific information about the gas and

particle properties, including the particle size distribution, to ensure that vendor

guarantees can be measured and substantiated after installation.

Pressure drop provides the driving force that generates gas velocity and centrifugal

force within a cyclone. Several attempts have been made to calculate pressure drop

from fundamentals, but none of them has been very satisfying. Most correlations

are based on the number of inlet velocity heads as shown in Equation 21.10:

9588ch21 frame Page 314 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

1

∆P = ρ V2 N (21.10)

2gc g i H

where

∆P = pressure drop

ρg = gas density

Vi = inlet gas velocity

NH = pressure drop expressed as number of the inlet velocity heads

One of the correlations for number of inlet velocity heads is by Miller and

Lissman:5

2

D

N H = K ∆P1 (21.11)

De

where

K∆P1 = constant based on the cyclone configuration and operating conditions

D = diameter of the cyclone body

De = diameter of the exit tube

A typical value for K∆P in the Miller and Lissman correlation is 3.2. For the

standard cyclone configuration described above, the Miller and Lissman correlation

results in 12.8 inlet velocity heads.

Another correlation for number of inlet velocity heads is by Shepherd and

Lapple:6

HW

N H = K ∆P 2 (21.12)

De2

where

K∆P2 = constant for cyclone configuration and operating conditions

H = height of the inlet opening

W = width of the inlet opening

De = diameter of the exit tube

The value for K∆P in the Shepherd and Lapple correlation is different, typically

ranging from 12 to 18. The Shepherd and Lapple correlation results in 8 inlet velocity

heads for the standard cyclone dimensions, 6.4 inlet velocity heads for the Stairmand

cyclone design, and 9.24 inlet velocity heads for the Swift cyclone design. As can

be seen, there is a substantial difference among the correlations. Again, it is best to

rely upon vendors’ experience when your own experience is lacking; however, to

enforce a performance guarantee, ensure that the specification is well-written and

can be documented for the expected conditions.

9588ch21 frame Page 315 Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:07 PM

21.3 SALTATION

The previous discussion of efficiency and pressure drop leaves the impression that

continually increasing the inlet gas velocity can give incrementally increasing effi-

ciency. However, the concept of “saltation” by Kalen and Zenz7 indicates that, more

than just diminishing return with increased velocity, collection efficiency actually

decreases with excess velocity. At velocities greater than the saltation velocity,

particles are not removed when they reach the cyclone wall, but are kept in suspen-

sion as the high velocity causes the fluid boundary layer to be very thin. A correlation

for the saltation velocity was given by Koch and Licht:8

W 0.4

( )

0.333

ρp − ρg

D

Vs = 2.055D0.067Vi0.667 4gµ 0.333 (21.13)

3ρ2g 1 − W

D

where

Vs = saltation velocity, ft/s

D = cyclone diameter, ft

Vi = inlet Velocity, ft/s

g = acceleration of gravity, 32.2 ft/s2

µ = gas viscosity, lbm/ft-sec

ρp = particle density, lbm/ft3

ρg = gas density, lbm/ft3

W = width of inlet opening, ft

50 and 100 ft/s.

REFERENCES

1. Lapple, C. E., Processes use many collector types, Chem. Eng., 58, 5, May 1951.

2. Leith, D. and Licht, W., The collection efficiency of cyclone type particle collectors —

A new theoretical approach, AIChE Symp. Series, 126 (68), 1972.

3. Stairmand, C. J., The design and performance of cyclone separators, Trans. Ind.

Chem. Eng., 29, 1951.

4. Swift, P., Dust control in industry, Steam Heating Eng., 38, 1969.

5. Miller and Lissman, Calculation of cyclone pressure drop, presented at meeting of

American Soc. of Mech. Eng., New York, December 1940.

6. Shepherd, C. B. and Lapple, C. E., Flow pattern and pressure drop in cyclone dust

collectors, Ind. Eng. Chem., 32(9), 1940.

7. Kalen, B., and Zenz, F., Theoretical empirical approach to saltation velocity in cyclone

design, AIChE Symp. Series, 70(137), 1974.

8. Koch, W. H. and Licht, W., New design approach boosts cyclone efficiency, Chem.

Eng., 84(24), 1977.

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