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Key words Separation, solids, liquid, hydrocyclone, centrifugal force
Latest version 2010/12/20
Completed by Wageningen UR - FBR

How does it work?

Primary objective Separation of solids from a liquid.
Working principle A slurry is tangentially inserted in a cyclone with a high velocity. Due to the centrifugal forces, which are a result of the difference in density, the solids are accelerated outwards. Because of the hydrodynamic behaviour of the fluid, the particle rich fraction is flowing to the bottom and the particle poor fraction to the top of the cyclone.
Additional effects Due to the high velocity of the fluid (containing the particles) the particles might be damaged by attrition or abrasion.
Important process parameters fluid velocity, cyclone dimensions
Important product parameters particle size, density

What can it be used for?

Products Low viscosity slurries containing (small) solids, e.g. washing of starch and removing mud in the sugar production industry.
Operations Separation
Solutions for short comings Hydrocyclone technology is a rigid separation method insensitive to clogging. Due to the high shear forces, agglomerates are broken down. Secondly it has the following advantages to other processes:

- long process times, due to slow processes based on difference in density, accelerated
- rotating parts in equipments like centrifuges are omitted

Restricted products Fluids where the target component is in solution.

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Fluids where the target component is in solution and high viscous slurries.
Other limitations The pumps that are used to create the flow to the cyclone must not damage the particles. The restrictions at the apex and/or vortex must be larger than approx. 10 times the largest particle.
Risks or hazards No


Maturity Cyclone separation technology is used for a few food applications (e.g. starch washing), but for most other applications it is undervalued.
Modularity /Implementation Hydrocyclones are often used in cascade or battery setup. This might have some impact on the required space.
Consumer aspects Not applicable
Legal aspects Not applicable
Environmental aspects None

Further Information

Institutes Wageningen UR - FBR
Companies GEA Hovex, FLSmidth Krebs
References 1. Emami, S; Tabil, LG; Tyler, RT, Performace comparison of two media during starch-protein separation of chickpea flour using hydrocyclone, Journal of Food Process Engineering (2010), V: 33, Issue: 4, Pages: 728-744.

2. Qiang Yang, Hua-lin Wang, Yi Liu, Zhi-ming Li, Solid/liquid separation performance of hydrocyclones with different cone combinations, Separation and Purification Technology (2010) 74: 271–279

fluid velocity, cyclone dimensions particle size, density Cyclones 2.2.1 physical separation not applicable Web of Knowledge: Keywords hydrocyclone, method (8)
Web of Knowledge: Keywords hydrocyclone, food (7)
Scopus: Keywords hydrocyclone, method (282) WikiSysop :Template:Review document :Template:Review status

Scheme will be added a.s.a.p. in "Working principle"-field

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Created by Hamoen on 17 January 2012, at 11:13