Home Hydrocyclone Principles of Operation

Hydrocyclone Principles of Operation

The hydrocyclone is an efficient metallurgical tool that separates solids by size when they are suspended in a liquid slurry by the use of centrifugal force.  Typical hydrocyclones are commonly used for classification, dewatering, and desliming.  It is primarily a volumetric separation apparatus with the greater volume including fines reporting to the overflow and the lesser volume including coarser solids reporting to the underflow.

The feed slurry enters the feed chamber tangentially.  The pressure of the slurry at the feed inlet influences the inlet velocity by means of an inlet with a fixed cross sectional area.  The inlet velocity initiates a rotational pattern that creates a downward spiral in the feed chamber. The diameter of the cyclone decreases in the cone section below the feed chamber. Centrifugal forces push the coarser material (or higher specific gravity) outward toward the cone wall.  This increases the percent solids near the walls by displacing the water toward the center of the cone.

To counteract the crowding action as the cone diameter decreases, a secondary interior spiral or vortex is formed from the remaining liquid and fine solids.  This vortex causes the liquid and fine solids to be carried up and out of the overflow.  The descending coarser solids will exit the cyclone through the apex at relative high solids.

Factors affecting the performance of a cyclone include, but are not limited to: cyclone size, feed inlet pressure, feed percent solids, sizing of the vortex finder and apex.

When applying cyclones, several questions need to be answered.

  • What does the user want to achieve?
  • What is the gradation of the material to be processed?
  • Will the feed gradation and volume be consistent?
  • How ‘clean’ is the feed?  Does it have a lot of clay or other sticky material?

Please consult our factory with any of your cyclone needs

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