Multi-phase computer modeling and laboratory study of dust capture by an inertial Vortecone scrubber

Ashish Ranjan Kumar, Steven Schafrik, Thomas Novak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Dust generated in mining and tunneling activities is hazardous to health of persons and safety of operations. These projects employ pick-milling machines to extract minerals and rock by mechanical breakage. The machines are equipped with flooded-bed scrubbers that encase dust particles within fine water films as particles encounter a flooded wire-mesh screen. A major disadvantage is that the screen gets clogged when particles become trapped within the wire mesh, reducing airflow through the scrubber and increasing ambient dust concentrations. Thus, the system requires frequent maintenance or replacement. The application of a Vortecone scrubber as an improved alternative to conventional fibrous type scrubbers is investigated. A Vortecone forces dust-laden air and water to follow a complex, rapidly swirling motion. The momentum drives dust particles towards the periphery where they are captured by the water film. The operating characteristics of a reduced-scale physical model of a Vortecone, with its primary axis mounted in the horizontal orientation, was analyzed numerically and experimentally. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models depicting the spraying action and multi-phase air/water flows using the volume of fraction (VOF) approach, are presented. Experimental results, utilizing an optical particle counting technique to establish the dust-cleaning capabilities of the model, are also described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Mining Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) via Grant 200-2014-59922 , “Coal Mine Dust Mitigation through Novel Scrubber Development and Numerical Modeling”. The authors also thank Dr. Kozo Saito of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky for his invaluable inputs and Oscar Velasquez for setting up the Arduino system.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Cleaning efficiency
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Dust-capture
  • Multi-phase flows
  • Process safety
  • Volume of fraction (VOF)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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