A numerical investigation of the effect of dust layer on particle migration in an electrostatic precipitator

Wenchao Gao, Yifan Wang, Hao Zhang, Baoyu Guo, Chenghang Zheng, Jun Guo, Xiang Gao, Aibing Yu

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Electrostatic precipitation processes have been widely applied to remove particulate matter from flue gases in coal-fired power stations. A high negative voltage is usually applied to a discharge electrode so that the gases are ionized in such processes. When the suspended particles in flue gases enter the ionized space, they are electrically charged and deposited on collection plates to form the layer of particle packing. However, the dust layer generally exists during the precipitation of charged particles on the collection plate. The negative effect of precipitated dust layer on the collection plate causes the collection efficiency of electrostatic precipitator (ESP) to deteriorate seriously due to some critical factors, such as dust resistivity and thickness of accumulated dust. In this study, a simulation method by computational fluid dynamics method was applied to investigate the particle collection performance of the ESP system with and without a dust layer. Also, the detailed electric parameters and particle capture performance in the 2D wire-plate electrode configuration were simulated. The results show that the voltage-current characteristics and detailed distribution of electric field and ion charge density are completely different under various dust resistivity conditions. The effect of the dust layer is significant, which causes collection efficiency to decrease sharply with the increasing thickness (1–5 mm) of the dust layer. Furthermore, results indicate that when particles with higher resistivity enter the ESP, their migration velocity decreases sharply. In the case of 80 kV, when the dust resistivity is 1012 Ω·cm, the decline rate of particle migration velocity reaches 57.7%. Meanwhile, useful suggestions were provided to reduce the effects of dust layers by regulating particle properties and designing dust removal systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-179
Number of pages14
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Collection efficiency
  • Dust layer
  • Dust resistivity
  • Electrostatic precipitator
  • Performance of decay

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