Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Solution of electrostatic problems in powder handling and processing

Electrostatic tribocharging of powder causes it to be attracted to, or repelled from, a nearby surface or surrounding particles. This can lead to variations in bulk density, choking of machines and a range of other industrial problems.

Research work carried out for this project aimed to improve the economic efficiency of pneumatic conveying, milling and mixing in the test-case process plant, by reducing electrostatic powder adhesion. The first stage of the project was to find the best powder categorisation methods. In the second stage, laboratory test rigs to model three relevant processing machines were developed; a pneumatic conveyer, a ball-mill and a fluidised bed homogeniser. The results dealt principally with the observations and predictions made using these rigs. In the third stage, laboratory charge control techniques were repeated using the full-scale industrial machines, giving general agreement with the experimental results.

Two important conclusions were that powders cannot readily be classified in terms of laboratory chargeability tests, and that laboratory equipment which models a machine closely may allow predictions of powder behaviour. Experience gained from this project is being used to improve a range of industrial situations, some not even immediately recognisable as having a static charge cause for the problem, via ongoing consultancy work.

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Reported by

Chilworth Technology Ltd
Beta House, Chilworth Science Park
SO16 7NS Southampton
United Kingdom
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