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PowderTechnology86 (1996) 137-14.4

Prediction of Venturi scrubber grade efficiency curves using the contacting power law
R.W.K. Allen
Departmentof Mechanicaland ProcessEngineering,Universityof Sheffield. SheffieldSI 4Dl], UK

Received t June1995;revi~ed12July 1995

Abstract The link betweenthe collection efficiency of a Venturi scrubberand its operatingpressuredrop was firstestablished by $emrauin 1958. Friedrich L6fflerused it as a startingpointfor the predictivernedet for whichhe wonlhe Fileration SocietyGold Medal in 1980,The apl~oach taken in that study was not widely followedby subsequentmodellersbut, in conjunctionwith previouswork, it does lay the foundati~ for a useful design approximationwhichallowsgradeeffieieheycurvesto be predictedfromempiricaldatadeterminedat otheroperatingconditions, In this paper, a range of detailed grddeefficiencymeasurementsconductedon a fun.scale plant are reported.The curvesare shownto depend only upon pressuredrop across the scrubber,there being no independenteffect of gas velocity, liquid to gas ratio, or dust size distrihetion, The implicationsof this for designare discussedand the gradeefficiencypredictiontechniqueis demonstrated.
Keywords:Ventufiscrubber;Conttiag [~werlaw;Particlesize;Efficiencycollection

1. Introduction

The collection of panicles in Venturi scrubbers is dominated by inertial impaction, with diffusion only being important for particles smaller than about 0.3 tan. Inertial impaction results from the relative velocity between the dust particles and droplets and, in the continuum regime, may be eharacterised in terms of a Stokes number, K: g = ppa%, 9/ado where d and dD are the particle and drop sizes, respectively, and v, the relative velocity between them. Other symbols take their usual meaning. In the commonest designs of scrubber, which are gas atomised, the necessary high levels of relative velocity are achieved at the expense of gas phase pressure drop. The link between performance and pressure drop was first established by Semrau etah [ 1]. They demonstrated a relationship of the form: rj= 1 -exp[ - n A p v] The constants a and 7 are usually thought of as characteristics of the dust with -y, in particular, said to account for the effects ElsevierScienceg.A. ~DI0032.5910(95)03046-C

of dust size distribution (see, for example, Cooper [2] ). The validity of this relationship has been questioned by some workers: for example, EL,nan and Johnstone 13], Gieseke [4] and Muir et al. [5] all suggested that efficiency can be less than that predicted from the contacting power concept at low gas velocities. This finding has been confirmed by Mien and van S~mten [61 who have shown that. for a 'badly' designed Venturi scrubber, there exists a minimum ratio of liquid flow to gas flow which ensures good distribution of liquid across the throat and performarg:e up to the level predicted by the contacting power concept. The equation is normally considered to he entirely empirical but can, in fact. be shown to have an approximate theoretical basis. L6ffler and Schuch [71 started their analysis with aconsidaration oftha contacting power law and correctly identified its inabilities to model the detailed phenomena which occur in Venturi scrubbers. Most attempts to descrihe thishahaviour have generally adopted either a differential material balance approach or, like LOftier, have considered the efficiency of a single drop over its entire flight length and integrated this over all the drops. In each case, the ~sulting differential equations have eitber been solved numerically or further simplified to yield an analytical solution.


R. V~K, AIletz/Powder Technol~gy86 (1996) 137-144

Analytical models have generally ~tarled from a simple one-dimensional material balance over a differential element of the scrubber, ca.::

have, however, shown that the model predicts reasonably well the form of the experimental data if the right value o f f is used. Lbffler and Schuch I71 make the interesting observation that, for most operating conditions of practical interest, f(K2,l) car, be approximaled by

+ ~ A ' [Q,G(dr,)]{'n'do'-14],

J =t

F(K2,f) =0.312 Kd 2
The simplest model for pressure drop considers only the acceleration of the droplets and, by a differential momentum balance, one obtains:

This equation is essentially the same as that derived by L6fllcr and Schuch from the consideration of drop flight. Here Qi and Q~ are liquid and gas flows, respectively, c is the dust concentration, UDthe drop velocity, rh the target cfliciency of an individual drop, G(dlj) the drop size distribution and

Q, -dP=~h ~ v~qdUo
Making the usual approximations of zero initial axial liquid velocity and the droplets accelerating to the gas stream velocity, this can be integrated for the throat section to yield:
A p = ~1 E l'gl"

f QiG(do) ddtj AuD

is the volume fraction of droplets in the differential volume, commonly termed the 'holdup', Ha. Making the simplifying assumptions that the droplets are monodisperscd and that the fraction of liquid entrained is constant (i.e., there is no evaporation or interchange with the film atthe walls), this reduces

Substitution of this and LGfller's simplification into Calvert's approximate model gives r/=l-.,~-k~d2AP~) where k is a constant. This is a form similar to the contacting power law. It suggests that for a monodisperse particle, y ~ i. The use of this result to manipulate grade efficiency data will be discussed below.

de c
where /-/d~ - Q, -

3v~H~I, dz 2dov~

which was suggested by Calvert 181. Most of the published models can be manipulated into a variant of this form. The different solutions arise principally from the different as sumptions mado in describing the droplets and lheir motion. Calvert etal. [9,10] developed their solution by considering that collection efficiency varied linearly with the relative droplet velocity, which they related to the superficial gas velocity through a factor, 'f' and by further assuming that collection occurred only in the throat and that the droplets accelerated from an initial relative velocity ratio,]', to the full throat velocity, vt;~ff = 1). The final equation was 2. Grade efficiency measurements The experimental programme was undertaken on the 2 mUs pilot plant test facility described in Allen and van Samen [6]. The efficiency of the scrubber, as a function of particle size, was measured against the following operating parameters: overall pressure drop gas flow rate and throat velocity Venturi geometry dust type The pt,ot plant facility is shown in Fig. 1. Two geometries of Venturi scrubber were tested: an industrial prismatic unit with an adjustable aspect ratio (5:1 to less than 2:1 ), and a classical long throat design with a length ratio of 13:1. These are shown in Fig. 2. Both units used wetted wall irrigation. The grade efficiency measurements were made by dispersing pro-sized dust at a c~ntrolled rate into the inlet duct and measuring the fraction which penetrated the scrubber by extractive sampling in the outlet duel using an Andersen Mklll in-stack cascade impactot. Two grades of silicon oxide test powder were used. These are designated type A and B and had nominal size distributions of 95% by weight smaller than 5 and 15 tzm, respectively. Their full size distributions, measured by liquid-borne sedimentation, are given in Fig. 3.

c~ t 55QsF !


1 [-_0,7_Kzf+l.4L


0.49 "1



The limitations of this medel, particularly in the use off, arc well known and will not he discussed. Yung etal. l 11 ]

R W. K Allen/Powder Teclm~logy 86 [1996) r3~144


Sr,ower bet wa!l ~njecllCm

~ "



k~36 lf~ d~.meter J







sG lal I (b)

Fig. 2. Sc~matic of Vcntuil lest sections. ( a ) (b) fixed cil~ular throat Vl'~uii.

Adjllslab~ ptismaU Ventari;

Recycle pump

Scale (al0prox,) ()

1' rn

Fig. I. Schematicof experimentalplant.

Their dispersion was achieved using an industrial sand blasting nozzle operated with compressed air at 5,5 bar. The air was pre-ionised using .,~Op,,radioactive sources to reduce any static charge induced oa the particles by this dispersion technique. The degree of dispersion was tested in two ways. Firstly, samples extracted using the SPS mini-scrubber ( Allen and van Santen 16] ) were re-analysed by liquid-borne sedimentation. The results (closed circles in Fig. 3) indicate that the particles were not measurably comminuted by the dispersion process. Secondly, measurements were made of the air-borne size distribution by sampling in the inlet duct with the cascade impactor. The agreement in the resulls (crosses in Fig. 3) confirms the success of the dispersion technique in reducing the powder to primary particles, The agreement also indicates that either technique may be used to pro-size the dust. Liquid-borne measurements were therefore chosen, principally because of their greater simplicity and larger measurement range. The cascade impactnr was subsequently only used to measure the outlet size distribution, where liquid-borne techniques were inappropriate. The principle of the cascade impaetor is well established. The sampling train used in these tests is shown in Fig. 4. The impaetor was fitted with a standard goose-neck sampling nozzle and inserted bodily into the duet through a standard 100 mm sampling port. This was fitted with an extension piece so that the bulk of the impactor could be held out of the gas flow, thereby reducing the risk of flow disturbance. Isokinetic sampling was used throughout the experiments with different nozzle sizes being used where necessary to maintain a required impactor sampling rate of 15 to 20 l/rain. The dust

feed rate was adjusted for each measurement to give a collected weight of approximately 10 mg in a sampling period of 2 min. A single layer of Whatman glass fibre fiher material was used as ,~ ~na! s,'age collector and glass fibre substrales were used on each of the collection stages. Weighing was carried ou't on a precision balance to 0.05 me. A Stalrmand half-area mixing baffle was located four duct diameters upstream of the sampling port to ensure a uniform dust dis-. tfibution, Because of the care taken to condition the gas flow, impaetor samples indicated no systematic variation in particle size across the duct and hence single point measurements were considered sufficient to determine the outlet size distribution. A typical analysis is given in Fig. 5. Grade efficiency measurements were made for both Venturk with two grades of dust. The experiments are summarised in Table I_ The conditions investigated were: throat velocity (67 to 103 m/s), liquid togas ratio (0.36 to 1,15 If rn3) and overall pressure drop (270 to 840 mm of water

Z 1. Grade efficiency at constantpressure drop

Previous studies [ 1,6] indicate that the overall efficiency of a Ventun scrubber for a given type of dust over a wide range of operating conditions is solely a function of pressure drop. This suggests that the grade efficiency should also be independent of operating conditions. influence of liquid to gas ratio, The effect of Liquidto gas ratio was investigated at three levels at two pressure drops, 400 and 600 mm w.g. The results are presented in Fig. 6. 'l'hese indicate no systematic trend, Influence of Venmrigeometry. Comparative tests were performed on the circular and prismatic Ventaris at two pressure drops, 270 and 800 mm w.g. The results (Fig. 7) again show no systematic trend despite the very different contributions made by the wet and dry pressure drop components.


R.W.K Allen/Pawder Technology~6 (1996) 137-144





of" o


~.~ -~ i=L~ ' ' I 10

. . . .


m,cron~ I0 50

Andrea~en pipette r~ea~a=emer, t o f d'~spe~ed dust @ Re~l~cate p i p { t t e e~ntrlfo*je =,L'Ubure~e~ta of e ~ p e r s e d ~as~ kr orne cascs, e ira,actor


PcarllCt~ ~lZ@ {~ust A )






PC~rllCle s~ze Cdusl ~} nllcron[,

Fig, 3,

Size distribuli0ns of types oft~[


v~ ce

n im~ter

. . . . . . . n:alerp .......

) B~r~chon o~

Dul ~vol(
Fig. 4. S c h e m a t i c of A n d e r s e n i m p o r t e r sampling



~9 B
Colcatale~ gro~e o

99 ~B

et htlency l c ~ ~


These resultsarc highly significant. They indicate that, at least over the typical operating ranges considered, Ventari performance is independent of liquid to gas ratio, throat velocity and throat design. T h i s supports the contacting power concept. It also suggests that there is no ' o p t i m u m ' Vcnturi design or 'optimum' drop size at which enhanced collection can be achieved and that, given good liquid distribution, the efficiency is simply a function of the pressure drop. Influence of dust type. Dust size distribution is the primary factor determining the relationship between pressure drop and overall collection efficiency. The grade efficiency, however, being the efficiency as a function of size, should itself he independent of size distribution. This was tested using the two test dusts A and B. The results, determined at three levels





l5 7

99 S







99 8

50 3C



* ~e=hOle c~o~e ,mpoclor Overclll


Lkl5 )t)~

2~',' % , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

, .
llO W~6~


29S m ~

g'v,~rolt olketl,on etf,,ency S~ 2"9 %





OIz 013



i ,110

t , ,,, 5 ~0
02 05


Pothole ~tze ( ml,rol~S)

Fig. 5.

P~rtlcte s,),P ( m,gron~ ) NS), Fig. 6. C o m p a r i s o n

Typical grade efficiency determi.ation ( R u n

of grade efliieocies


the same overall pressure


R. W.K. Allen/Powder Technology 85 (19~6) 137-144

999. ~ Ruin Venturl Pressure 99,~ 99
No T~pe D~op


3. Venluri sc~bber design


- *6s


(rnmw9~ e~ '':~ e~3 _,4/ o


G/* Prtsrr. 7fl7 (Obst type a ) / g00mmwcj

270ram wg





T~,pe Circ



I~,~ rn

(ram wt~) 275 270

(DIJSItype B) Ol
I 0.2 r ,11,,4 0S


I .---,-J Z L
lO 2 5 I0

P~rllcle Sl2e (rnlcmns) Pig. 7.

Cmnparison of circular and prismatic Vex, luffs.

9999 ,.

A common me~hoclof presenting grade efficiency data is to express the particle size corresponding to agiven efficiency as a function of pressure drop. Typically, this is the size corresponding to 509'0 efficiency; the 'cut size', d ~ Such data are presented in Fig. 9. This considers all the dala sets measured here. For most of these, extrapolation to 50% efficiency was required because of the limiting lower size measurable with the Andersen impactor (about 0.3 txm). Two methods of extrapolation were used; simple graphical extrapolation from the lowest measured point to the origin, and lognormal extrapolation based on a least-squares fit to the tails of the distributions, Clearly, the difference between these two methods increases with increasing pressure drop (increased range of extrapolation). The line in Fig. 9 represents a leastsquares fit to all points. Considerable scatter is seen in these data. Thi s reflects the very real difficulty of obtainingaccurate performance measurements, especially in the sub-0.5 Fm region. The use of design methods, based on simple alsocorrelations, is therefore likely to give inaccurate results. Instead an alternative approach is recommended which assumes the existence of grade efficiency data measured underknown conditions. This can be scaled in ordertopredict the grade efficiency curve under the new conditions by the simple application of the contacting power law, using "~=:l,


e l O ~ ~q

'-.I~ m ~ m

290 ~,~ ~ g

70 El Run Oust ~'~Pr

[- . . . . . . .





I 113 :-).t . , _ l ~ z , . , l
o~ o~

(B) ....... f J

~ o~ T

3 ~,

~z" A 2~B
l0 cA ) Oi~

z 05


~ z.
]0 2 3 ~ 5


Pl~rlll@ Fig. &

$lZ~ ( microns ]

Varialian of grade efficiency with pressure drop and dugt type.


Pressure tire D (ram ~.'] I

of pressure drop, are given in Fig. 8. The expected agreement is seen at the lowest pressure drop (290 mm w.g.) but, even allowing for the slightly different conditions at the highest value, a divergence is found at higher pressure drops. Such differences, might be ascribed m "dry serubfiing' by which, at high concentrations, large particles sweep smaller ones out of the gas stream. However, in these experiments the dust concentrations were necessarily low, of the order of a few g/ a~~, ~o sac:, effects should have been minimal. A more plausible explanation is that the reported deviation is the result o[ experimental errors in measuring the fine tails of the feed size distributions for the coarse dust. Dust composition, especially differences in hydrophobicity, would be expected to have some effect on the shape of the grade efficiency curve. This was not investigated here.


"'.%y" ~o .........


Fig. g. Relationship between panicle cut diameter ~m4 p,'esstwedrop. N,ote: D[ determined by lip,eat extrapolation of grade efficiency ce.Jrvesm (0, 0)./)2 detmnined by leasl-~uares lining of log-normal distribution through taft of grade e~eiency curves.


R.t K. Allot / PowderTerkualogy g6 (1996) 137-144






GO 05 1 t,5 .%1call 2 2.S 3 3.S

Sizt, lit nit)

Fig. 10. Grade efficiency as a function of pressure drop. Table I

Suromary of grade efficiencymeasurements Run no, Dusl type Throat selling a Throat velodly (In/s) 66.5 IH 114 84 114 84 I0"~ 103 87.9 87.9 96.6 96.6 93 3 87,9 79 8 L7 80.8 93.3 93,3 933 8.1.7 Liquid la gas ralio l l/m ~) 1.06 L,06 1.06 1,06 I 06 0.5 0.93 0.57 I. I I 057 0 74 0,31 0.39 0.67 0.57 0.36 0.83 1.01 0.17 0.53 1.15 Pressure drop ( Into wg.) Totul 270 434 787 434 737 394 813 602 685 393 604 390 387 430 275 298 475 840 298 555 650 Dry 154 243 470 243 470 292 126

Overall efficiency (%) 96,1t3 98,07 99.06 96.86 99.22 96.83 99.1 98.68 98.69 97.85 98.69 97,g3 97.81 98.05 96.89 94,29 97.55 99,38 94.29 98!4 9879

G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G9 GI0 GI I GI2 GI3 GI4 GI5


B B B A A A B B B B g I]. II



[,9 fi9 R6 g6 80

GI7 N2 N3 N4 N5 N6 N7




' Numbers refer lu prismatic Ventun; C[RCrefers IOcircular Volturi Thus if, for a given particle size, -q~ and rt2 are the efliciencics at API and AP~: using the contacting power law, The agreement can be seen to be very good. This indicates that pilot plato data, obtained under one set of operating conditions, can be accurately scaled to predict grade efficiencies at other operating conditions by the simple use of the contacting power law. Thus, data obtained at low pressure drops can be used to obtain inlbrmation about higher pressure drop behaviour, yielding more information at the tail of the grade efficiency curve. It


Fig. 10 shows four sets o f data taken at varying levels of pressure drop. The same data, with some others, are replotted in Fig. I I but, in each case, with the ordinate being scaled

R,tEK, Alte,q/ Powder Technology 86 (1996) 137-144



. .. r... ~ . ~ T t

. . . .










Size I p m )




Fig. 1 l, Grade efficiency ctlrves at 600 mm predicled from oilier cxperitllenls.

further suggests that the mini-scrubber design procedure, proposed by Allen and van Santcn, [6] can be adapted to produce comprehensive grade efficiency data fur design purposes.

4. Conclusions
( I ) The grade efficiencies ofgas-atomised Ventari scrubbers have been investigated on a 2 m3/s scale. (2) Over the range of conditions investigated here. liquid to gas ratio and throat velocity had nu independent effect un the scrubber grade efficie hey curve, which was simply a function of the overall pressure drop, (3) Particle cut size data as a function of pressure drop have heen extrapolated from this work. Whilst they give the expected dependence, they show gross variations. Methods using the cut size approach for predicting pressure drop are therefore unreliable for Venturi design. (4) Scrubber grade efficiency may be adequately described by suitable scaling of existing empirical data by the simple application of the contacting power law.

K~ AP Q u, o z

inertial parameter (Stokes number) inertial parameter defined on %t pressure drop (N/m 2) flow rate (m3/s) velocity (m/s) axial length along serobher (m)

Greek letter~
constant in contacting power law exponent in contacting power law fractional efficiency, at given particle size gas viscosity (kg/'ms) density (kg/rn 3)

D g i I o p r t droplet o~s at inlet liquid at outlet particle relative (to gas) throat

5. List of symbob
A c d f,f~ G(do) Hd k duct area (m) dust mass concentration (kg/m ~) particle diameter (m) droplet velocity ratio at atomizat[un droplet size distribution liquid holdup fraction constant

Acknowledgements The work of A. van Santen in producing the experimental data, which have been previously reported to SPS members, is gratefully acknowledged.


R.W,K. A11enl Pnwder Technol~gy g6 (1996) 137- 144 [6] R,W,K, Allen and A. van Sanlen, l.~v Warld Cfmgr. Particle Tchnolvgy. Niirnberg. G~rmany, f9R6 [71 F Lbffler and G. Schueh, Proc. Filtration Sf~ciety, Filtrati~Jn or Separation. Jan,/Feb. I ~ l . pp. 70-74. [8] $. Calvert. in A,C. Stem (ed.I. Air P~pltutimn. Academic Press. New York, 1968, pp. 457~196. [9] $. Calvert, YIIChEJ.. 16 (1~70) 392 396. [ 10] S. Calvert. D. Lundren and D.S. Mehta, JAPCA, 22 ( 197o ) 529-532, [IllS.C, Yung. S, Calvert and HF. Barbarika, Veutm'i Scrubber Performance MMel, EPA Rep. No. 600/2-77-172. 197"/.

Referenres [l] K,T, Semrau, C,W, Maryoowski. K.E. Lunde and CE, Lapple, ing, Eng, Ckem.. 50 (195g) 1615-1620 [2] D.W. Cooper, Armo.~. Env., 10 (1976) 1001-1004 [3] F.O. Ekman and H.K Johnslone, Ind. Erll,,. Chem., 43 ~ 1951} 1358. [4] J. Gieseke, Pressure loss in Venturi .scrubbers, PItD. Thesi,~,University of Washington, 1964. [5] D.M. Muir, C.D. Grant and Y. Mibeysi, Filtration .~m'iety Syrup ~ Fihratiop~ Productivily and Profit,*, 20-22 Sept, 1977, Olympia, London.