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Development of a cyclone with internal electric field

Ntshengedzeni S. Mamphweli (Institute of Technology, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa)
Edson L. Meyer (Institute of Technology, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to develop a cyclone with an internal electric field to capture dust and fine carbon particles with less than 5 μm diameter.


The cyclone collection efficiency model described by Cooper and Alley was used to design a conventional cyclone, which was later modified by introduction of the solenoid around it to introduce an electric field. The cyclone design performance was later established using ferrosilicon powder with less than 5 μm diameter.


The cyclone was found to have a particle collection efficiency of around 25 per cent for ferrosilicon powder before the introduction of the solenoid; the introduction of the solenoid increased the particle collection efficiency to around 50 per cent and the charging of the solenoid further increased the collection efficiency to 85 per cent at 2 kV DC and 97 per cent at 3 kV DC. When the cyclone was placed back on the gasifier system and supplied with 2 kV DC, it collected up to 270 g of fine carbon particles within 150 min of operation.

Research limitations/implications

The major drawback was that the highest particle collection efficiency for the cyclone could only be achieved at very high voltage (3 kV) but this could not be supplied when the cyclone was back in the gasifier system due to air ionization that results in the corona effect.

Practical implications

The collection of very fine particles (less than 5 μm diameter) in hot gas streams is always a challenge, particularly in biomass gasifier systems. This resulted in a high cost of gas purification or initial investments in downstream processes. The developed cyclone could cut down this expenditure since most of the particles will not go beyond the cyclone.


Electrostatics has been applied in the development of gas cleaning devices, however most of these devices tend to be too cumbersome. The developed cyclone is based on the conventional design, which is less complicated and cheap to manufacture.



Mamphweli, N.S. and Meyer, E.L. (2011), "Development of a cyclone with internal electric field", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 313-322.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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