Multiphase CFD modeling and laboratory testing of a Vortecone for mining and industrial dust scrubbing applications

Ashish Ranjan Kumar, Steven Schafrik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Dust exposure-related occupation diseases are irreversible and have led to debilitating outcomes in personnel. Particles like coal dust generated in mines and accumulated above a critical concentration are explosive. Fibrous type multi-layered filters are the primary dust particle capturing element in flooded-bed dust scrubbers. However, these filters get clogged due to prolonged dust accumulation. This paper investigates the interaction of dust, water, and airflow in CFD in a non-clogging Vortecone filter. The Vortecone accelerates the particle-laden fluid, forces it into rapid swirling fluid motion, and pushes particles to separate and capture them. Filter capture performance in several air and water quantities regimes with aerosol particles exceeding 2.0 μm from a coal-dust laden airstream is described here. Detailed computational fluid dynamics models mimicking steady-state flow regime and transient-state air-water interface motion are presented. Particle tracking and their capture on water film using volume of fraction approach to determine the cleaning efficiency for different particle sizes is presented. Experimental cleaning efficiency results obtained from iso-kinetic sampling and optical particle counting agree with the computer models. Laboratory tests run on the Vortecone showed coal-dust cleaning efficiency exceeding 75% for particles 2.8 μm in size and 90% for 4.7 μm for all airflows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-336
Number of pages7
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors express their gratitude to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for funding the research project. The project is aimed at alleviation of dust in underground coal mines. The authors also acknowledge Dr. Thomas Novak of the Department of Mining Engineering and Dr. Kozo Saito of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Kentucky for his invaluable suggestions. The authors acknowledge Dr. Emily Sarver of the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech for assistance with optical particle counting sensor.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Institution of Chemical Engineers


  • Cleaning efficiency
  • Computational fluid dynamics modeling
  • Dust scrubber
  • Mining engineering
  • Multi-phase flows
  • Optical particle counting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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