Cyclone Separator

Definition - What does Cyclone Separator mean?

A cyclone separator, also called a cyclonic dust collector, is a widely used air pollution control device that cleanses flue gases of particulate matter before such gases exit into the atmosphere. It's a method of collecting up to 99% of airborne waste in an easy-to-empty container beneath the cyclone.

These devices are primarily labeled as pre-cleaners, as they are instrumental in removing large and abrasive particles from flue gases, which then go through additional filtration processes to remove fine particulate matter. The relevance of cyclone separators lies in the fact that they facilitate the first step of the flue gas filtration process. The objective of these devices is to minimize air pollution and environmental hazards caused by production plant exhaust.

Safeopedia explains Cyclone Separator

In terms of filtration abilities, cyclone separators are known to remove the following particulate matter from flue gases:

  • Toxic particles
  • Abrasive particles
  • Coolant mists
  • Metalworking chips
  • Explosive particulate
  • Fine powders
  • Other production plant exhaust

Cyclone separators work as a buffer against damage to enhanced filtration systems that can be adversely impacted by large and abrasive particulate matter. This, in turn, can negate the pollution control process applicable to flue gases emanating from production plants.

Cyclonic separator types vary in size based on the scale of industrial operations, from between five feet or less and 30 feet or more. In an industrial setting, the size of a cyclone separator depends largely on the amount of exhaust gas that needs to be filtered. As such, cyclone separators can stand a few feet above the ground or as high as a three-story building. There is a variety of cyclone separators that largely influence the flue gas filtration process, which are detailed below:

  • Reverse-Flow Cyclonic Separators—wherein flue gases flow into the device at the top. These gases are then exposed to a spinning motion, which causes particulate matter to hit the wall due to centrifugal force and thus drop into a particulate collector due to gravity. Filtered flue gases sucked to the bottom of the separator reverse flow and are emitted out of the device into the environment or for further filtration.
  • Uniflow Cyclonic Separators—wherein the filtration process is simplistic and flue gases flow down the cyclonic axis. The spinning motion results in centrifugal force, and particulate matter hits the wall and is pulled downward into a collector. Similarly, filtered flue gases are emitted out of the cyclonic separator toward its base.
  • Impellor Collectors—wherein flue gases are processed in a multi-bladed impellor. This causes particulate matter to be directed into a collector based at the periphery of the device, while filtered gases escape around the circumference of the impellor.

The efficiency of cyclone separators is subject to various factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Size of the particulate matter
  • Density of the particulate matter
  • Size of the device
  • Velocity of the inlet gas
  • Smoothness of the separator wall

It must be noted that the flue gas filtration processes carried out by varying types of cyclonic collectors do not entirely meet the strident standards of industrial emissions meant to prevent pollution and environmental hazards. As such, cyclone separators are the first step in the production plant exhaust filtration process.

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