Minerals Engineering, Vol.20, No.1, 60-71, 2007
CFD simulation and experimental validation studies on hydrocyclone
Hydrocyclone is a key unit operation in mineral process industry and simulation of which using CFD techniques is gaining popularity in process design and optimization. The success of the simulation methodology depends primarily on how best the results are matching with the experimental values and the computational time it requires for obtaining such results. In the present investigation, attempts are made to develop a methodology for simulating the performance of hydrocyclone. Initial work included comparison of experimental and simulated results generated using different turbulence models i.e., standard k-epsilon, k-epsilon RNG and RSM in terms of water throughput and split with the help of suitably designed experiments. Among the three modeling methods, predictions using RSM model were found better in agreement with experimental results with a marginal error between 4% and 8%. Parametric studies have indicated that a decrease in the spigot opening increased the upward vertical velocity of water more compared to a decrease in the downward vertical velocity. An increase in the inlet pressure has increased the axial velocities of water in both the upward and downward directions and increased the mass flow rates through the cyclone. An increase in the inlet pressure has also increased the static pressure differential along the radius within the cyclone body and hence more water split into overflow. Further, an increase in the inlet pressure has also increased the tangential velocities and reduced the cyclone cut size. The simulated particle distribution values generated using the particle injection technique are found matching with the experimental results while achieving cut sizes between 4.9 and 14.0 mu m. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.