Centrifuge Separation Separators
A hydrocyclone is a device to classify, separate or sort particles in a liquid suspension based on the ratio of their centripetal force to fluid resistance. This ratio is high for dense (where separation by density is required) and coarse (where separation by size is required) particles, and low for light and fine particles. Hydrocyclones also find application in the separation of liquids of different densities. A hydrocyclone will normally have a cylindrical section at the top where liquid is being fed tangentially, and a conical base. The angle, and hence length of the conical section, plays a role in determining operating characteristics. A hydrocyclone has two exits on the axis: the smaller on the bottom (underflow or reject) and a larger at the top (overflow or accept). The underflow is generally the denser or coarser fraction, while the overflow is the lighter or finer fraction.
Internally, centrifugal force is countered by the resistance of the liquid, with the effect that larger or denser particles are transported to the wall for eventual exit at the reject side with a limited amount of liquid, while the finer, or less dense particles, remain in the liquid and exit at the overflow side through a tube extending slightly into the body of the cyclone at the center. Forward hydrocyclones remove particles that are denser than the surrounding fluid, while reverse hydrocyclones remove particles that are less dense than the surrounding fluid. In a reverse hydrocyclone the overflow is at the apex and the underflow at the base. There are also parallel-flow hydrocyclones where both the accept and reject are removed at the apex. Parallel-flow hydrocyclones remove particles that are lighter than the surrounding fluid.
In a suspension of particles with the same density, a relatively sharp cut can be made. The size at which the particles separate is a function of cyclone diameter, exit dimensions, feed pressure and the relative characteristics of the particles and the liquid. Efficiency of separation is a function of the solids' concentration: the higher the concentration, the lower the efficiency of separation. There is also a significant difference in suspension density between the base exit (fines) and the apex exit, where there is little liquid flow. If the size range of the particles is limited, but there are differences in density between types of particles, the denser particles will exit preferentially at the apex. The device is therefore a means of selective concentration of, for example, minerals. This device is also related to the centrifuge; both of them are intended to separate heavies and lights in liquid by application of centrifugal force.