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A triboelectrostatic separation apparatus includes a mixing chamber having opposed first and second charging ports, a separator having a separation chamber, first and second electrodes, and a variable voltage source for applying respective positive and negative voltage potentials to the electrodes. First and second particle streams are delivered through the first and second charging ports resulting in the impingement of the particle streams upon each other within the mixing chamber, thus enhancing the electrostatic charging of the particles contained within the particle streams. The apparatus may also include a pre-separator having a pre-separation chamber, a charged particle collection chamber and a plurality of feed passageways providing fluid communication between the pre-separation and the charged particle collection chambers. As a result of imparting electrical charges upon the particles, an electric field exists within the pre-separator allowing certain particles to be repelled/drawn through the passageways into the charged particle collection chamber. A method for separating electrostatically charged particles is also described.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky.

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