Flow Field and Fibre Fractionation Studies in Hydrocyclones
Hydrocyclones can be used to fractionate fibres according to their papermaking potential. The obtained fractions typically differ in fibre wall thickness and/or degree of fibre treatment. Despite a multitude of potential application scenarios, the process has so far had little commercial success. This is largely explained by the low fractionation efficiency and unfavourable operating characteristics of the process.The fractionation efficiency of a hydrocyclone is closely related to its flow field. The influence of pulp concentration on the tangential velocity field was therefore studied, by using a self-cleaning pitometer. It was found that the pulp concentration had a strong influence on the tangential velocity. At a feed pulp concentration above 7.5 g/l, the suspension rotated almost as a solid body. As a consequence, the magnitude of radial acceleration and shear stresses decreased dramatically. It is suggested that this is detrimental to the fractionation efficiency.The radial velocity field was measured using an Ultrasonic Velocity Profiler. The measurements showed that the rotational centre of the flow field did not correspond with the geometrical centre of the hydrocyclone. This displacement caused the tangential velocity component of the vortex to contribute substantially to the measurement result of the radial velocity component.Based on the findings in respect to the flow field studies, a novel design for a fibre fractionation hydrocyclone was proposed. The flow field inside this hydrocyclone was compared to that in a conventional hydrocyclone. It was found, that high radial acceleration and shear stresses could be maintained in the novel design even at high fibre concentration. The fractionation efficiency of the novel hydrocyclone was characterised in terms of surface roughness difference between fine and coarse fraction. When operated with refined bleached softwood kraft pulp, the novel hydrocyclone could produce fractions with a substantial surface roughness difference without deteriorating the dewatering characteristics of the fine fraction. A low thickening of the reject is proposed to be the explanation for that. When fractionating TMP, the best efficiency occurred at a concentration of 10 g/l.
School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:TECHNOLOGY; Chemical engineering; Chemical process and manufacturing engineering; Cellulose and paper engineering; Fibre suspension; fractionation; hydrocyclone; measurement technique; velocity measurement; shear forces
Date of Publication:01/01/2006