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CherniedEn&eering Science,1961.Vol.15,pp.3%~ Lo826.

Performance and design of hydrocyclones-IV

Design of hydrocyclones

Koninklijke/Shell-Laboratorium, Amsterdam
(Shell Intemationale Research Maatschappij)

Abstract-This is the fourth part of a series of papers on hydrocyclones. In Part I general

considerations were presented, in Part II a pressure drop correlation was given, while in Part III
a cyclone separation number was derived whose. value was determined experimentally. An
optimal cyclone shape was indicated.
In this part rules are given that enable hydrocyclones to be designed for any separation
problem in which the size of the particles to be separated is known. Constructional details and
items to be observed in designing a cyclone or cyclone battery are discussed.
Finally the design method is illustrated by an example.

R&urn&---Le p&sent article est la quatri&me partie dune s&ie traitant dhydrocyclones. La
premihre partie traite des consid&ntions g&&ales et Is deuxihme partie traite de la corr&ation
entre la chute de pression et le pouvoir de sbparation; dans la troisi*me lauteur d6duit un nombre
de stparation pour le cyclone, dont la valeur a &tB d&erminCe exp&imentalement, et indique la
forme optimale du cyclone.
Cet article donne de simples rkgles permettant de calculer et de projeter un hydrocyclone
pour tout problhme de sbparation, pourvu que les dimensions des particules soient connues.
Des d&ails importants qui doivent &re observ6s dans la construction dun cyclone ou dune
installation de cyclones sont disc&s.
Finalement Is m&hode de construction est illustr6e Ir laide dun exemple.

Zusammenfassung-Dies ist der letzte einer Folge von Artikeln iiber Hydrozyklonen. Im 1.
Teil wurden allgemeine Betrachtungen angestellt, im 2. Teil wurde eine Beziehung fiir das
Druckgefjille ausgearbeitet, im 8. Teil eine Zyklontrennungszahl, deren Wert sich durch Versuche
ermitteln liess. Eine optimale Form des Zyklons wurde angegeben.
In diezem 4. Teil werden einfache Regeln angegeben, mit denen es m6glich ist, fiir jedes
Trennungsproblem, wobei die Gtisse der zu trennenden Teilchen bekannt ist, einen Hydrozyklon
zu entwerfen. Wichtige Einzelheiten, die bei Entwurf und Bau eines Zyklons oder einer Zyklonan-
lage zu beriicksichtigen sind, werden besprochen.
Zum Schluss wird die Anwendung der Berechnungsmethode an einem Beispiel gexeigt.

INTRODUCTION cyclone of another design or a smaller one.

THE PERFORMAWE of a hydrocyclone used for In order to be able to handle the same throughput
the separation of a given solids-liquid system a larger number of cyclones must then be run in
is determined by its throughput. This means that parallel.
at a certain throughput both the pressure drop In the following we will only consider cyclones
and the separation obtained are fixed. of optimum design, as discussed in Part III [l]
If a better separation is required, i.e. if finer of this series, which is fixed by the following
particles must be separated and discharged with relations between the cyclone dimensions :
the underflow, this goal can be attained by increas- L/D N 5
ing the throughput, which, however, means that see Fig. 1 b/D = 0.28
also the total pressure drop will increase. If this e/D = 0.34
is not allowed the only possibility is to take a l/D 21 0.4

*Now Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Technical University of Eindhoven, Holland.

Performance and design of hydrocyclon~IV

Both correlations hold in the case of purely

Newtonian liquids if the solids concentration in
the feed is not higher than 2 per cent by volume
b and if operation is such that a gas core can

4 develop in the centre of the hydrocyclone.

For the design of a hydrocyclone battery the
following factors must be known :

(a) The available pressure drop.

(b) The total throughput desired.
(c) The desired 50 per cent separation
(d) The physical properties of the system to be

For each cyclone of the hydrocyclone battery

the Reynolds number at the inlet can be calculated :

bPV0 -_ -+!7 .
ReMe, = --
7 mTb7)
LluN~*rm 42 APL(AP),
From Cyso it follows that pq = - - .
FIG.1. Cross-sectionof a hydrocyclone. rl CY,

For cyclones of this design the cyclone separa- 4 L 1 402 AP (APA

Hence, Rei,,i,, = - - - - - *
tion number w b CY50 rl r)
GY = da? AP L-= (API* 3.5 , For cyclones of optimum design it follows that
60 -
rl P9
Retie, = 6-5 -40 - .
while the total pressure drop, expressed in rl 7
numbers of inlet velocity heads, depends on the
This means that the inlet Reynolds number
inlet Reynolds number as indicated in Fig. 2
can be calculated from the total available pre-
(see also Part II) [2].
ssure drop, the desired 50 per cent separation
diameter and the physical properties of the
system to be separated.
The corresponding value of the pressure-drop
factor G = (Ap),/$p Vo8 can now be read from
Fig. 2 ; hence, V, can be calculated, after which
the inlet diameter b and, consequently, the
cyclone diameter D, follow from the value of
Reinlet already known.
The quantities required are more rapidly
obtained with the aid of Fig. 3.
I I I I 1111111
5 104 5 105 5 Here two newly-derived dimensionless numbers
FIG. 2. Relation between pressure drop and inlet
Reynolds number of recommendedhydmcyclone of ReinI&- 4,s AP (APL .
a gas core is present. 6-5 ? 71
c!hen.Engng.&i. Vol.15,Noa. 8 and 4. Sepkmber. 1001
I05 -



IO4 _


FIG 8. Hydrocyclone correlations between separation characteristics,

cyclone diameter and cyclone throughput if 8 gas core is present.

These two numbers are derived as follows : in parallel to handle this throughput follows
n = Q/q.

The separation curve of a hydrocyclone is
The relation between these two numbers and given in Fig. 4, where the particle size is expressed
the inlet Reynolds number can be calculated from in 50 per cent separation diameter and S means
the relation between G and Reinlet (taking into the percentage of solids separated.
account that for cyclones of optimum design If the particle size distribution of the cyclone
b/D = 0.28). feed is known and is equal to g (d,), for a certain
Their values can be read from Fig. S when d6,, the percentage of solids not separated by the
cyclone can be calculated by means of
-- AP (AP),
? 11 (percentage solids not separated) =

has been calculated. (100-S) g (d,) d d,

Next, diameter D and throughput q of each I
zz_ 0
cyclone can be calculated.
If the total desired throughput amounts to Q, g (dp,,dd,
the number, fit, of cyclones which must be run 0

Perfonnanee and design of hydnxyclones-IV

PERCENTAGE objection to this, provided the above rules are

followed and the cross-section of the rectangular
inlet pipe has the same surface area as that
of the circular pipe, which would follow from the
5. In order to prevent as much as possible
erosion, which is strongest at the intersection of
inlet and cyclone body and at the apex, it is
40 i
I recommended to use very hard materials for the
I construction.
20 I

i/ i
0 I I I 4 I I
$%o %O 9dSO 2150
In a refinery a hot oil stream flowing from a

FIQ. 4. heating unit contained fine solid particles at an

Percentage of 6olida of particle size states
separated in cyclone (as determinedexperimentally
dverage concentration of approximately O-1 per
for 10 per cent underflow). cent by weight. This solid content had to be
reduced to less than O-02 per cent by weight.
Since large quantities of oil were involved from
If this percentage is determined for several
which very fine particles had to be removed at
values of dSO, by intelpolation the d,, can be
high temperatures installation of a hydrocyclone
found on which the design of the cyclone battery
battery seemed an attractive solution. The more
has to be based in order to separate the desired
so because the oil stream flowed from the unit
percentage of total solids.
at a pressure of several atmospheres. Relevant

In order to guarantee a good separation the (a) Hydrocarbon phase

following constructional details must be adhered temperature 240C
to: density (240C) 760 kg/m3
1. The inlet should be perfectly tangential to viscosity (24OT)
the cyclone body, which means that the inter- O-7 CP (0.7 x 1O-3 kg/m set)
section of the inlet pipe and the inside of the
(b) Solid phase
cyclone should just reach the point where the
density (oil wetted) 1800 kg/ma
radius of the cyclone which is perpendicular to
range of particle sizes l-50 /.L
the inlet axis intersects the cyclone body (see
particle size distribution : See Fig. 5
Fig. lb). There should be no hole or any other
kind of uneveness at this point. (c) Available pressure 5-7 atm abs.
2. The inside of the cyclone and the inlet
Design of the cyclone unit
pipe should be perfectly smooth in order to
reduce turbulence and erosion as much as possible. (a) Calculation of data. The calculation will
3. The wall thickness of the vortex finder proceed as indicated in Section 1. First a separa-
should not exceed l/10 of its internal diameter. tion diameter d,, must be chosen. It appears
4. In the case of a multi-hydrocyclone, where from Fig. 5 that all particles larger than approxi-
several cyclones have one common feed line, mately 5 p must be separated. To ensure good
the separate inlet pipes should have at least a separation a value of P ,J is chosen for d,,. The
length of four times their diameter. available pressure drop across the cyclone unit
When from a constructional point of view is taken as 4 atm. It follows that the value of
rectangular inlets are preferable, there is no the dimensionless group :
Chnn.Engng.&i.Vol. 15,Nos.a and4. September, 1901.








IO 20 30 35

Fro. 5. Size distributionof solids in the feed of a hydrocyclone battery.

42 AP AP inlet diameter b = O-28 x D = 6.8 mm

= 1.8 x IO,
9 overflow diameter e = 0.84 x D = 7.6 mm
cyclone length L=5 x D=118mm
and thus from Fig. 8
For handling 1000 tons/day of oil 1000/24 = 42
cyclones in parallel are required.

5.6 x 10 ,
(b) Lay-out of cyclone unit. For reasons of
operational flexibility the cyclones were assem-
q J
(p/d2 AP
p = l@O, bled in six units of nine cyclones in parallel each.
The hot oil also contained some dissolved gases,
which will partly be flashed off during the drop
from which D (cyclone diameter) 22.5 mm
in pressure in the cyclone, Thus special measures
and q (throughput of a single cyclone) for ensuring formation of a gas core in the cyclones
0.87 x lo-* ma/set, were not considered necessary.
Because the concentration of solids in the feed
which ia equivalent to 24 tons/day.
was rather low the underflow rate of the cyclones
Because all geometrical ratios for the hydrocyclone could be restricted to a value less than normal.
are fixed (see Introduction and Fig. 1) it follows By choosing a small underflow diameter it was set
that: at 8 to 5 per cent by volume of the feed flow rate.

Performance and design of hydrocyclonegIV

(c) Performance of the cyclone unit. The per- D = cyclone diameter

formance of the unit was closely followed during e = overflow diameter
G = ratio of total pressure loss and inlet velocity
a period of several hundred hours. Even when
the solids concentration in the feed occasionally I = vortex Bnder length
was as high as three times the average value, L = length of cyclone from top plate to apex
separation was quite satisfactory. Analysis of L, = length of cyclindrical part of cyclone body
n = total number of cyclones which are run in
the overtlow regularly showed solids contents
between O-02 and O-01 per cent by weight. No ( AP)~ = total pressure loss necessary to operate the
serious operational difficulties were encountered cyclone
under normal operating conditions. q = throughput of one cyclone
Q = throughput of a cyclone battery
S = percentage of solids of uniform particle size
separated in cyclone
b = inlet diameter u = underflow diameter
Cyos = characteristic cyclone number V, = linear inlet velocity
dp = particle diameter v = liquid viscosity
dbo = diameter of particles which are separated for p = liquid density
50 per cent Ap = difference in density between solid and liquid

[l] RIETEMA K. Chem. Engtg. Sci. (Part III of this series), (this issue).
[2] RIETEMA K. Chem. Engng. Sci. (Part I and II of this series), (this issue).

them. lh@W. Eki. Vol. 15, Nos. 8 and 4. September, 1961