The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Research project: Turbulent Gravitational Separation of Mixed Waste

Currently Active: 
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Understanding how highly a-spherical particles disperse and settle in turbulent flow

Project Overview

The aims of the research as as follows :

1. Conduct an extensive review of water-solid separation technology available to the process industry and assess the current technology in the light of these techniques. Suggest novel methods that could potentially improve the separation efficiency or reduce the space footprint and/or energy use.

2. Understanding of the dynamics of extremely non-spherical particles of differing densities and shapes with a view to understanding the way in which particles of defined characteristics settle in still fluid and free (away from walls) laminar and turbulent flows. This will predominantly be an experimental data gathering exercise and then analysing existing empirical correlations and extending them. Current data is only available for only mildly non-spherical particles. The knowledge will permit prediction of separation efficiency for different waste streams and the experimental method developed will standardised to use on any waste stream.

3. Develop a whole unit flow model based on the panel method and use this, with basic stirred tank/plug flow reactor system analysis to develop an empirical model for separation efficiency for any glass/plastic waste stream, validated for the waste stream currently under test in #1. The will develop a simple and fast tool to run in MATLAB or equivalent.

4. Developing an understanding of the 2D boundary layer fluid mechanics at the base of the separator units under development by Aquavitrum Ltd. with a view to optimising the geometrical and operational characteristics and increasing the separation efficiency of glass and plastic streams. This will be predominantly a computational project making use of commercial CFD codes available at the University of Southampton.

5. Analyse the 3D flow patterns of the prototype rig and develop and test 3D geometrical modifications to increase the particle residence time and the separation efficiency. This will be predominantly an experimental project making use of seeded water flows for visualisation purposes.

6. Conduct scale up tests on commercial sites with actual waste streams to analyse the relationship between scale up factor and separation efficiency.

 

Related research groups

Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics

Staff

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