The behaviour of charged particles in turbulent gas flow in electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) is crucial information to optimise precipitator efficiency. This paper describes a strongly coupled calculation procedure for the rigorous computation of particle dynamics during ESP taking into account the statistical particle size distribution. The turbulent gas flow and the particle motion under electrostatic forces are calculated by using the commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package FLUENT linked to a finite volume solver for the electric field and ion charge. Particle charge is determined from both local electrical conditions and the cell residence time which the particle has experienced through its path. Particle charge density and the particle velocity are averaged in a control volume to use Lagrangian information of the particle motion in calculating the gas and electric fields. The turbulent particulate transport and the effects of particulate space charge on the electrical current flow are investigated. The calculated results for poly-dispersed particles are compared with those for mono-dispersed particles, and significant differences are demonstrated.
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