Design and Optimization of a Vortex Particle Separator for a Hot Mix Asphalt Plant

Particle/gas separation is a necessary step in the production of Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA). Process requirements demand a very specific separation criteria. In addition, the pressure drop associated with the separation stage must be minimized to reduce the static pressure required from the fan. The intent of this study was to design and optimize an inline cyclonic particle separator as the primary collector for a HMA plant. Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methods were used to investigate the effects of the device geometry on particle collection. Parametric studies of the geometry were accomplished using ICEMCFD’s direct CAD interface in SolidWorks. The Reynolds Renormalization Group (RNG) k −ε turbulence model was used to model the swirling flow. Particle tracking was performed to predict collection efficiency using a Discrete Phase Model (DPM). The Haider and Levenspeil modification was made to the DPM to better model non-spherical particles trajectories. Particle-wall interaction was investigated by varying the Coefficient of Restitution. The predicted collection efficiency was compared to a similar CFD analysis of the existing HMA cyclone design and to empirical data. The optimized inline cyclonic separator was shown to accomplish qualitatively better collection efficiency at a fraction of the pressure drop of the existing design.

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