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An electrostatic separation apparatus or system is provided for separating a particle mixture into two constituent species. The system includes a distributor for differentially tribocharging the particle species forming the mixture and supplying the charged mixture to a plurality of electrostatic separation cells. Each cell includes at least one separator having an inlet, a separation chamber having an electric field zone for drawing selected charged particles from the particle mixture, a collector, and a transition outlet. The length of the electric field zone is selectively adjustable for varying the charged particle drawing action. A curtain gas flow introduced into the separation chamber carries the selected charged particles drawn from the particle mixture in the electric field zone to the collector. Flow vanes or straighteners are provided for both the particle mixture flow and the curtain gas flow to reduce turbulence in the separation chamber and improve separation efficiency. The collector includes a discharge outlet for discharging the selected charged particles to a first collection bin. The transition outlet receives the remaining particle flow and delivers it to a second collection bin for recovery or to a second separator to collect any remaining selected charged particles. The transition outlet reforms the flow to create turbulence to further tribocharge the particles prior to entering the second separator. A related method of particle separation is also disclosed.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY (US)

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