CFD-DEM modelling of multiphase flow in dense medium cyclones

Kaiwei Chu, Bo Wang, Aibing Yu, Andrew Vince

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214 Citations (Scopus)


Dense medium cyclone (DMC) is a high-tonnage device that is widely used to upgrade run-of-mine coal in coal preparation. It is simple in design but the flow pattern within it is complex due to the size and density distributions of the feed and process medium solids, and the turbulent vortex formed. This paper presents a mathematical model to describe this flow system by means of combining Discrete Element Method (DEM) with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The DEM is used to model the motion of discrete particles by applying Newton s laws of motion. The CFD is used to model the motion of slurry medium by numerically solving the local-averaged Navier-Stokes equations facilitated with the Volume of Fluid (VOF) and Mixture multiphase flow models. The approach is shown to be able to reproduce typical flow phenomena in DMCs. The effect of medium-to-coal ratio and the so-called surging phenomenon are analyzed. An attempt is made to explain the observed phenomena in terms of particle-particle, particle-fluid and particle-wall interaction forces. The approach offers a convenient way to examine the flow and performance of DMC in relation to geometric, material and operational conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235 - 247
Number of pages13
JournalPowder Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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