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EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH ON GAS-SOLID FLOW IN A

SQUARE
CYCLONE SEPARATOR WITH DOUBLE INLETS
B. Xiong', X. F. LuI, R. S. Amano", C. Shu!
1 School ofPower Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing, 400044, China
2 Department 0/Mechanical Engineering, University ofWisconsin-Milwaukee, WI53211,
USA
Abstract: A square cyclone separator with double inlets was developed for a new type
Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) boiler arrangement scheme including two furnaces.
Experiments
on the performance and gas-solid flow recorded by a high-speed photography have
been
conducted in a cold test rig with a separator cross section 40Ommx400mm.
Experimental results
indicated that with the inlet velocity of 22.4m/s and the inlet solids concentration of
4.9g/m3
, the
cut size is 15 J.llTI., the critical size is 75J.llTI., and the pressure drop coefficient is 1.7.
The
performance is also affected by the inlet velocity and solids concentration. The
trajectory of
particles shows that the particles swirl in the region near the wall and are easily
separated.
Especially, the instantaneous separation occurred at the comer is very significant for
the
improvement ofthe collection efficiency with the high inlet solids concentration for CFB
boiler.
Keywords: circulating fluidized bed boiler, square cyclone separator, gas-solid flow,
collection
efficiency, pressure drop coefficient
INTRODUCTION
Aiming at the problem of circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler scaling-up, a new type
CFB boiler
arrangement scheme called "furnaces around separator" (Huang et al., 2006) was put
forward. The largest
difference with other schemes is identified that a cyclone separator is placed between
two furnaces, and a new
type integrated external heat exchanger is used under the separator. Compared with
the traditional circular
cross-section cyclone, a square cyclone has more advantages over the conventional
cyclone, due to several
reasons such as convenience in construction, easier membrane wall arrangement,
shorter start-stop time, and its
easy integration with the boiler. Therefore a square cyclone separator with double
inlets is used in this new
boiler because of employment oftwo furnaces.
Ahlstrom Pyropower Company developed a square water-cooled cyclone separator
with upward exhaust
exit for high temperature separation and applied to its compact CFB boiler design
(Daring, 1995). Other
authors reported the application of such a separator to commercial CFB boilers
(Makkonen and Foster, 2000). A
patent square separator with particle accelerating inlet was developed by Tsinghua
University (Lu et al., 1998).
A number of studies have focused on structure and dimensions of this square cyclone
separator, with the aim of
enhancing collection efficiencies and reducing pressure drops (Bai et al., 1999a; Bai
et al., 1999b). Their
measurement results prove that the fractional collection efficiency of square separator
with particle accelerating
inlet is almost unchanged during the diameter of separator scaled from 300mm to
3000mm, and the scaling up
design of the square well meets the request of large circulating fluidized bed boilers
(Lu et al., 2000; Lu et al.,
2003). A type of square cyclone separator with downward-exhaust exit was developed
and granted a Chinese
patent. Its separation efficiency was shown as good as that of the traditional cyclone
of circular cross-section
separator and its particle cut-diameter was around 15 J.Lm (Qiu et al., 1999). The gas-
solid suspension flow in a
lab-scale square cyclone separator with downward gas-exit was measured by Su and
Mao (2006). All of the
above mentioned research results indicate that the square cyclone separator used in
CFB boiler has high
collection efficiency.
According to the experimental results of Zhao et al. (2004), circular cross-section
cyclone separator with
direct symmetrical spiral inlet has a higher performance than that of cyclone with a
conventional tangential
single inlet. The square cyclone separator with symmetrically double particle
accelerating inlets was developed.
The performance of this square cyclone separator including the collection efficiency
and the pressure drop is
one of the key factors of success in the new type CFB boiler arrangement scheme. In
this paper, the
experimental study on the performance of this square cyclone separator with double
inlets and particle
trajectory recorded by high-speed photography are presented.
EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP
A cold test rig with a separator cross section 40Ommx400mm was built. The geometry
and dimension of
the square cyclone separator with double inlets are presented in Fig. 1 and in Table 1.
For the convenience of
The experimental system setup is shown in Fig. 3, which included the square cyclone, an
induced fan and
two particle screw feeders. The air supplied by the induced fan entered into the cyclone
though two inlet pipes.
The inlet velocity was measured by a hot wire anemometer at the inlet pipe. Because the
construction of the
inlet pipes was the same, the deviation ofthe inlet velocity between two inlets was less
than 3%. Also the inlet
velocity could be controlled by the baffle at the front ofthe inlet pipe. Particles were fed by
two screw feeders
and uniformly diffused in the inlet pipe. At last, these particles entered into the cyclone with
the air flow.

The pressure was measured at the inlet and outlet sections by use of differential pressure
transmitters. The
electric signal from the KYB-14 transmitter was automatically collected by ADMA date
collection system with
a monitor and control generated system. The pressure drops were calculated from the
difference of the average
pressure between the inlet and outlet sections. The solid particles used in the test were
talcum powder with
skeletal density of2739 kg/rrr'. The particles with single size of 10, 23, 45 and 75J.Lm
were weighed and fed into
the cyclone separator by screw feeder. At the dust outlet, the separated particles were
collected and weighed.
With these data the collection efficiency can be calculated from the following equation:
W;
lJi =W'
e;

Where TJ is the collection efficiency. W; and w;, are the weight of particles at the dust
outlet and the inlet.
i is the particle size.
During the experiment, high-speed photography was used to record the particle trajectory
in the square
cyclone. In order to make the particle trajectory clear, the polystyrene grain with bulk
density of 12 kg/nr' was
used. According to the similarity theory of particle movement, the calculated size of the
polystyrene grain
ranges from O.5mmto lmm

EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Collection efficiency
Figure 4 compares the grade collection efficiency of the square cyclone with double
inlets at the inlet
velocities of 16.7,22.4 and 29.Om/s, respectively, while the inlet solids concentration
was kept as 4.9g/m3
. As
expected, the frictional efficiencies are seen to increase with increase in particle size.
From the curve in Fig. 4
with the inlet velocity of l6.7m/s, we can see that the 50% cut size is about 20J.llll.
While the particle size
increases to 75J.llll, the collection efficiency is close to 100%. Also the collection
efficiency increases with
increase in the inlet velocity. For the inlet velocities of 22.4 and 29m/s, the collection
efficiencies are greater by
1-3% and 2-8% than that for the inlet velocity of l6.7m/s. the centrifugal force acting
on the particle increases
with increase in inlet velocity. So it is easier for particle to move to the wall and be
separated. But the inlet
velocity should be chose reasonably. The operation ofthe square cyclone separator
with high inlet velocity may
bring some other problems such as wear.
Figure 5 shows the collection efficiency ofthe cyclone at different inlet solids
concentrations with the inlet
velocity kept as 24.5m/s. For the 4.9, 18.4 and 73.4g/m3 tests, a tendency of
increasing collection efficiency
with increase in inlet solids concentration was observed. For the inlet solids
concentrations of 18.4 and
73.4g/m3
, the collection efficiencies are greater by 1-3% and 2-13% than that for the inlet
concentration of
4.9g/m3
. This trend is attributed to the increase in the formation of agglomerates, which are
more easily
collected. Also the high inlet solids concentration made the particle pre-separated
from the gas before entering
the main body of cyclone (Wang et al., 1999). Generally, the inlet solids
concentration of separators in CFB
boilers that locates between lkg/rrr' and l Okg/m'' is much higher than that in the tests.

Pressure drop
The cyclone pressure drop is shown in Fig. 6 as a function of the inlet air velocity, for
flow without
particles, and, as expected, it increases with the inlet
velocity. The pressure drop across cyclone is commonly
expressed as a number named the pressure drop coefficient,
which is the division of the pressure drop by the inlet
kinetic pressure. The experimental data were fitted by
equation:
M>
e=-----=--
Pgvi/ /2
Where e is the pressure drop coefficient. M> is the
pressure drop. P and v. are the density and velocity g m
of the inlet air. So the pressure drop coefficient for this
square cyclone separator is about 1.7.
For the particle laden flows tested, Fig. 7 shows the
square cyclone pressure drop as a function of inlet solids
concentration, with the inlet velocity as a parameter. As can be observed, the
pressure drop increases with
increasing velocity, and, for a given velocity, the pressure drop slightly decreases
with the increase in the inlet
solids concentration.
The pressure distribution is very similar with that in the circular cross-section cyclone.
At the section 1
(Z=8Omm) near the inlet of the vortex finder, it can appear that the center low-
pressure zone is surrounded by
the high-pressure zone. The static pressure decreases from the wall to the center
where a highly intensified
forced vortex exists. The pressure gradient is large along the Y direction. But the
pressure along the Y direction
has almost no change at section 2 (Z=-400mm). This shows that, in the middle and
lower taper, it does not form
the good airflow field like the cylinder separator. Also we can see that the pressure
values near the wall have
litter change between the two sections. This indicates that the velocities at Y and Z
directions are so small in
comparison to the velocity at X direction near the wall, because the static pressure is
transformed into the
dynamic pressure in the cyclone.

There is an important phenomenon called instantaneous separation in the square


cyclone with double inlets.
The solid clusters rushed to the rear wall and moved along the
wall to be separated from the gas at the high inlet solids
concentration, as shown in Fig.9. The separation mechanism is
very different from that at low inlet solids concentration. It
was observed by Wang et al. (1999) in the square cyclone with
single inlet and a separation model with sectional velocity was
developed to predict the collection efficiency. But in the
square cyclone separator with double inlets, the instantaneous
separation just happened at the comer. Here the velocity of gas
is much smaller than that of main air flow or the sectional
velocity. So the instantaneous separation in square cyclone
with double inlets is more significant than that in the square
cyclone with single inlet and the circular cross-section
separator. This is very helpful for the particle separation with
high inlet solids concentration. Also, from the particle trajectory recorded by high-
speed photography shown in
Fig. lOwe can see that most part of particles into the cyclone swirl in the region near
the wall, move to the
corner and impact with the side and rear walls. Because the inlet width b reduces to a
half compared with the
cyclone separator with a single inlet, a little part of particles flow with the main air
flow. Also some particles
are carried by the main air flow after impacting with the wall and continue suffering
rotational separation.

CONCLUSIONS
A square cyclone separator with double inlets was developed for a new type CFB boiler
arrangement
scheme including two furnaces. Some experiments were completed in a cold test rig with
a separator cross
section 40Ommx400mm. Experimental results show that:
(l) With the inlet velocity of 22.4m/s and the inlet solids concentration of 4.9g1m3
, the cut size is 15J.llTI.,
the critical size is 75J.llTI., and the pressure drop coefficient is 1.7. The cut size
decreases with an increase in inlet
velocity and inlet solids concentration. The pressure drop slightly decreases with increase
in inlet solids
concentration for a given inlet velocity.
(2) The trajectory recorded by high-speed photography illustrates that particles moving
into the square
cyclone swirl in the region near the wall and are easily separated on the cyclone wall
because they only have to
move a short distance to the wall.
(3) The instantaneous separation happened at the corner is very significant for the
improvement of the
collection efficiency with the high inlet solids concentration for CFB boiler.