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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of turbulent drag reducing additives on hydrocyclone operation : an evaluation of the flow behaviour and particle mechanics MacKenzie, Jordan Alexander


The effects of adding drag reducing additives to a pulp processing hydrocyclone were experimentally investigated. This work was found to contribute towards improving particle separation efficiencies and reducing energy consumption. To effectively evaluate the performance improvements, the flow field was initially measured using laser Doppler velocimetry. In the presence of a particulate phase, the motions of variously sized particles were measured using a three dimensional, dual camera set-up. Quantification of the drag reducing potential of the various polymer solutions and fibre suspensions studied was experimentally determined using an integral analysis for a fixed control volume. The addition of drag reducing polymer additives was found to fundamentally change the hydrocyclone flow field from what is classically observed with water alone. For the conditions studied in this work, the effectiveness of a hydrocyclone towards removing contaminants would likely be reduced, as a particles separation zone was limited. The addition of polymer additives to a hydrocyclone was found to increase the size of particles susceptible to overflow removal. It was found that particles of density 1280 kg/m³ and diameter 500 - 600 microns displayed inwards motion in a 0.03% APAM solution, where purely outwards motion was measured for identically sized particles suspended in water. The flow field, however, indicated that overflow removal is limited to only a small region near the vortex finder. Polymer additives were found to be effective in reducing energy consumption in a hydrocyclone. Maximum drag reduction was found to occur at a reject ratio of 50% for polymer solutions, independent of inlet velocity. The energy savings potential for polymer additives in a pulp processing hydrocyclone, however, was found to be limited to the inlet velocity. Most in process hydrocyclones operate well above the minimum inlet velocities measured for rejects ratios of 25% and 50%, suggesting that additional energy savings would likely occur. The phenomenological degradation of the polymer agents investigated in this work suggests that the practical use of these additives would be difficult. This was found to be most significant with cellulose fibre suspensions containing cationic polyacrylamide (CPAM), as polymer adsorption resulted in rapid polymer degradation.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada