Efficient cyclone systems for fine particle collection in the pharmaceutical industry

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The optimized design of gas cyclones is of particular relevance for the recovery of highly valuable products, such as in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) through drying systems such as Spray or Fluid Bed Drying (Shoyele et al., 2006). . Traditionally, these have been captured with reverse flow gas cyclones, but fine and low density particles remain difficult to capture (Maa et al., 1998). Bagfilters although highly efficient, are to be avoided due to possible contamination problems and filter product hold-up. Also, small electrostatic precipitators are difficult to clean, and thus have not been used for this purpose. This paper addresses the use of optimized designs of reverse-flow gas cyclones (Hurricanes) that can be coupled with mechanical/electrostatic recirculation systems (ReCyclone® systems). The Hurricane designs are the solution of numerical global optimization problems, with the objective of maximizing collection efficiency, while obeying several imposed operating and geometrical constraints (Salcedo and Candido, 2001). The simulation model used by the optimizer is based on the predictive properties of a finite diffusivity model (Mothes and Loffler, 1988). Recently, this model was extended to deal with recirculation (Salcedo et al., 2007), allowing the possibility of optimizing the already highly efficient ReCyclone systems. Both the Hurricane cyclones and the ReCyclone systems can be made with a break-apart construction, making them compliant with the needs of the API industries.

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