CFD Modelling of the Behaviour of a Cylindrical Miniature Hydrocyclone

Jordan Patrick Zahra


An investigation into the pressure losses and separation efficiency variations associated with using a cylindrical miniature hydrocyclone geometry over a typical conical hydrocyclone geometry for applications in microfluidics was conducted using computational fluid dynamics on a fluid without particulate being included. The reason for this is due to manufacturing constraints, typical conical hydrocyclones are more costly and complex to manufacture at a small scale which may allow the less efficient cylindrical hydrocyclone to be a viable option due to its manufacturing simplicity. The study showed that a cylindrical hydrocyclone geometry is a competitive separator at 1mm and 5mm diameter sizes at varying inflow velocities when compared directly to typical conical hydrocyclone geometries. The pressure loss or 'cost of separation' was found to have decreased with comparison to the work done on a typical conical miniature hydrocyclone by Zhu et al (2012). The separation efficiency was also seen to decrease, obtained using analytical methods for the product of the Stokes number at the cut size, and the Euler number. This is an unexpected result and future work will be done to validate this by calculating the separation efficiency directly from the inclusion of particulate into the computational fluid dynamics model.


Engineering; fluid mechanics; microfluidics

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