(83c) Visual Analysis of Particle Bouncing and Its Effect on Pressure Drop in Dilute Phase Pneumatic Conveying

Authors: 
Vasquez, N. A., The Dow Chemical Company
Jacob, K., The Dow Chemical Company
Cocco, R., Solids Processing Lab, The Dow Chemical Company
Dhodapkar, S., The Dow Chemical Company
Klinzing, G. E., University of Pittsburgh


During the pneumatic conveying of plastic pellets, it has been observed that materials with similar physical characteristics may develop substantial difference in pressure drop, whose cause is not fully understood. This experimental study focused on the dynamic behavior of the particles during conveying and its influence on pressure drop.

The bouncing of the particles during pneumatic conveying in dilute phase was visually analyzed by means of a high speed video camera. The experiments included two different plastic pellets of similar size and density but different modulus of elasticity. The conveying trials were carried out in a 0.052 m I.D. aluminum pipe conveying system approximately 35 m long. The loading was controlled by an airflow control valve and a variable speed drive rotary valve. For each material, a series of tests were performed creating a matrix of six solids rates for five different air velocities. During the conveying trials the high speed video camera was used to record the actual particle motion in a horizontal section with fully accelerated flow. The videos showed significant difference in bouncing between the soft and the hard pellets. The soft pellets showed very random and intense bouncing with strong rotation, which affected the rebound considerably. In fact, some particles bounced even backwards. On the other side, the hard pellets showed significantly less bouncing and rotation.

In addition to the high speed videos, in each test the pressure drop was measured in the horizontal and vertical directions. As expected, a significant difference in pressure drop was recorded for the same conveying settings when using the different materials. The pressure drop showed a close relation to the bouncing of the particles, being much higher for the soft pellets.

It can be concluded that the increased pressure drop, developed by the soft polyethylene pellets, is in part due to the multiple times the particles must be reaccelerated during their transit through the conveying system. Additionally, the reduction in the average particle velocity increases the drag force. All of this resulted in up to 3X increase in pressure drop across the conveying line compared to the hard polyethylene pellets that showed significantly less bouncing.

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