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COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT COLLECTION EFFICIENCY

MODELS FOR VENTURI SCRUBBERS USING A GENERAL


SOFTWARE
N.D. Charisiou, N. Argiropoulos, K. Papageridis and M.A. Goula
1
Laboratory of Alternative Fuels and Environmental Catalysis (LAFEC)
Department of Pollution Control Technologies (PCT)
Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia (TEI WM)
Kozani, Koila, 50100, Greece
Email: mgoula@teikoz.gr
1
ABSTRACT
Venturi scrubbers are used widely for removing particles from gases because of their many
attractive features: they remove sub-micrometer particles efficiently; they are compact and simple
to build, so that initial investment costs are small in comparison to other types of particle collection
devices; and they function well in problematic situations such as hot or corrosive atmospheres and
when sticky particles must be collected.
A typical venturi scrubber consists of a converging section, throat section into which the scrubbing
liquid is injected, and relatively longer diverging section where much of the energy recovery and
particulate collection occurs. At the scrubber injection position, a high relative velocity between the
scrubbing liquid and gas causes atomization of the liquid into a distribution of fine droplets.
Impingement of gas upon a pool of liquid causes the atomization and entrainment of liquid drops.
The predominant mechanism for particles greater than about 0.3 micron diameter has been shown to
be inertial impaction.
The literature contains a number of models to predict venturi scrubber efficiency and pressure drop.
These models are useful in optimizing and designing new venturi scrubbers as well as predicting the
effects of changing parameters in existing ones. Some models are explicit, analytical expressions
that have straightforward solutions. Others are more complex and require numerical solution with a
computer. In regards to collection efficiency, among the most widely used are those developed by
(i) Calvert et al (1972) and Johnstone et al (1954). A popular model for the calculation of pressure
drop is that developed by Young et al (1978).
The purpose of the present work was to develop a generic software that allows the user to calculate
the predicted venturi scrubber efficiency and pressure drop using the models mentioned above, over
a wide range of operating conditions. It has been designed using MATLAB, as it is easy to use by
the untrained, while among others, it allows the use of excel spreadsheets and the production of
AutoCad drawings.
Keywords
Venturi scrubbers, Collection Efficiency, Particle Collection
1. INTRODUCTION
In the last four decades, the technical community has expanded its responsibilities to society
to include the environment, with particular emphasis on air pollution from industrial sources. One
of the most common air pollution abatement devices used are venturi scrubbers (Figure 1). Such
systems can be used either for the collection of particulate material from gas streams or for the
control of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The advantages of these systems include high
collection efficiencies for relatively small particles and low capital and maintenance costs. The
main cost is associated with the operating fans that are used to overcome the venturis relatively
high pressure drop (Naseh et al, 2006; Pulley, 1997; Silva et al, 2009).
A typical venturi scrubber consists of a converging section, throat section (Figure 2) into
which the scrubbing liquid is injected, and relatively longer diverging section where much of the
energy recovery and particulate collection occurs. At the scrubber injection position, a high relative
velocity between the scrubbing liquid and gas causes atomization of the liquid into a distribution of
fine droplets. Impingement of gas upon a pool of liquid can also cause the atomization and
entrainment of liquid drops, and this principle is used in several types of commercial venturi
scrubbers. Particulate matter is collected on liquid droplets by a number of collection mechanisms
operating simultaneously. These include inertial impaction, interception, diffusion, condensation,
humidification, and electrostatic precipitation (Table 1). However, the predominant mechanism for
particles greater than about 0.3 micron diameter has been shown to be inertial impaction (Miller, et
al, 1989; Rudnick et al, 1986; Wang et al, 2004; Yung et al, 1978).

Important process variables that affect particle capture include the particles size, the size of
liquid droplets, and the relative velocity of the particle and the liquid droplets, with particle size
being the most important parameter. In general, larger particles are easier to collect than smaller
ones. The key to effective particle capture in a wet scrubber is creating a mist of tiny droplets that
act as collection targets: usually, the smaller the droplet and the more densely the droplets are
packed, the better the ability to capture smaller-sized particles. Particle capture generally improves
with higher energy systems because energy is required to produce the mist of tiny droplets. Also, a
high relative velocity between particles and liquid droplets (the particles are moving fast compared
FIGURE 1: Typical Venturi scrubber
(Source: Cooper & Alley, 2004)
FIGURE 2: Cross section of a Venturi throat
(Source: Adopted from Theodore, 2008)
to the liquid droplets) promotes particle collection. For gaseous pollutant collection, the pollutant
must be soluble in the chosen scrubbing liquid. In addition, the system must be designed to provide
good mixing between the gas and liquid phases, and enough time (residence time) for the gaseous
pollutants to dissolve.
Other important considerations for both particulate and gaseous pollutant collection are the
amount of liquid injected into the scrubber per given volume of gas flow (referred to as the liquid-
to-gas ratio) and the removal of any entrained liquid droplets. The liquid-to-gas ratio is important to
provide sufficient liquid for effective pollutant removal. Also, the system must be designed to
remove entrained mists, or droplets, from the cleaned exhaust gas stream before it leaves the stack.
If not removed, the "captured" pollutants could be emitted from the stack.
TABLE 1: Particle collection mechanisms in venturi scrubbers
Mechanism Explanation
Impaction Particles too large to follow gas streamlines around a
droplet collide with it.
Diffusion Very tiny particles move randomly, colliding with
droplets because they are confined in a limited space.
Direct interception An extension of the impaction mechanism. The center
of a particle follows the streamlines around the
droplet, but a collision occurs if the distance between
the particle and droplet is less than the radius of the
particle.
Electrostatic attraction Particles and droplets become oppositely charged and
attract each other.
Condensation When hot gas cools rapidly, particles in the gas
stream can act as condensation nuclei and, as a result,
become larger.
Centrifugal force The shape or curvature of a collector causes the gas
stream to rotate in a spiral motion, throwing larger
particles toward the wall.
Gravity Large particles moving slowly enough will fall from
the gas stream and be collected.
The literature contains a number of empirical models to predict venturi scrubber efficiency
and/ or pressure drop, that are useful in optimizing and designing new venturi scrubbers as well as
predicting the effects of changing parameters in existing ones. For the calculation of collection
efficiency, some of the most popular models are those developed by Johnstone et al (1954), Calvert
(1972), Boll (1973), Young et al (1977) and Concalves et al (2004). For the calculation of pressure
drop the models developed by Calvert (1970), Boll (1973), Azzopardi (1991) and Pulley (1997) are
amongst the most widely used.
Some of the models mentioned above are explicit, analytical expressions that have
straightforward solutions. Others are more complex and require numerical solution with a computer.
A common feature in these models is that although most start from firm scientific concepts, they
give only qualitative results when predicting collection efficiencies or pressure drops. The
interaction of particulate matter having a given particle size distribution with water droplets having
another size distribution is not easy to express in quantitative terms. As a result of this complexity,
experimentally determined parameters are usually required in order to perform engineering
calculations (Theodore, 2008). Thus, caution should be exercised when using these models outside
the range of data used to develop them (Miller et al, 1989). Another factor then needs to be taken
into consideration is that few data have been available to confirm model predictions, so model
evaluation has been difficult (Rudnick et al, 1986; Silva A.M. et al, 2009).
The purpose of the present work was to develop a generic software that will allow its users
to calculate the venturi scrubber collection efficiency using one of the following models: (i) Calvert
et al (1972), and Johnstone et al (1954). For the calculation of pressure drop, the model developed
by Yung et al (1977) was incorporated into the software. These models were chosen based on an
extensive literature search, which revealed that to this day, they remain amongst the most widely
used for design purposes. The development of such a software is a necessary task mainly because
although one may find some excellent textbooks regarding the design of air pollution control
technologies (indicatively, Cooper and Alley, 2004; Wang et al 2004; Theodore, 2008), comparable
software are absent (Charisiou et al, 2011). Thus, it is hoped that the software developed herein will
prove a useful weapon in the arsenal of educators and/or students of air pollution abatement
technologies.
2. SOFTWARE DEVELOPED
2.1 Collection efficiency
2.1.1 Johnstone model
One of the more popular and widely used collection efficiency equations is that originally
suggested by Johnstone et al (1954).
0.5
( )
1
p
kR K
e


(1)
where is the collection efficiency, K
p
is the inertial impaction parameter (dimensionless), R the
liquid-to-gas ratio (gal/1000 acf or gpm/1000 acfm) and k the correlation coefficient, the value of
which depends on the system geometry and operating conditions (typically 0.10.2 acf/gal). The
inertial impaction parameter (K
p
) is given by Equation 2, where d
p
the particle diameter (ft),
p
the
particle density (lb/ft
3
), V
t
the throat velocity (ft/s),
G
the gas viscosity (lb/ft-s), d
d
the mean droplet
diameter (ft) and C the Cunningham correction factor (dimensionless). The mean droplet diameter
(d
d
) for standard air and water in a venturi scrubber is given by the NukiyamaTanasawa
relationship, shown in Equation 3. The overall collection efficiency of the system can be calculated
using Equation 4, where M
d
is the weight percent of the particles of a given diameter.
2
9
p p t
p
G d
Cd V
K
d

(2)
,
1.5
16, 400
1.45
d
t
d R
V
+
(3
)
( )


d d o
M
(4)
2.1.2 Calverts model
As in many of the available models for the design of venturi scrubbers, the Calvert et al
(1972) model, is based on the prediction of the penetration (Pt
d
) for a given particle diameter.
Penetration is defined as the fraction of particles (in the exhaust stream) that passes through the
scrubber uncollected. Penetration is the opposite of the fraction of particles collected (i.e. collection
efficiency,
d
), and is expressed as shown in Equation 5. The total penetration can be calculated as
shown in Equation 6.
1
d d
Pt
(5)
,
( )
o d d
Pt Pt M

(6)
According to Calvert et al (1972), the penetration can be calculated by the following Equation:
0.7
0.49 1
exp 0.7 1.4ln
55 0.7 0.7
p
L G L d
d p
G G p p
K f
Q V d
Pt K f
Q K f K

1 + _

+ +
1 ' ;
+
1 , ]

(7
)
where Q
L
and Q
G
are the liquid and gas volumetric flow rates respectively (dimensionless), V
G
is the
gas velocity at the throat (cm/s),
L
is the liquid density (g/cm
3
),
G
the gas viscosity (poise), and f is
a correlative parameter that ranges from 0.2 to 0.7. It should be noted that that for the correlation
parameter (f), Cooper and Alley (2004), suggest that the value 0.25 should be used for hydrophobic
particles, while 0.5 should be used for hydrophilic particles. The inertial impaction parameter (K
p
) is
given by the following Equation (please note that the first part in Equation 8 is identical to Equation
2 presented above):
2 2
, ,
9 9
p p p d w a p d
p
G d G d
C d V d V
K
d d


(8)
with d
p
in cm,
p
in g/cm
3
, V
p,d
the particle velocity relative to the droplet velocity, in cm/s (thus in
effect it equals V
t
),
G
in poise,
w
the density of water (in g/cm
3
) and d
a
the particles aerodynamic
diameter (in cm). The mean droplet diameter (d
d
) for standard air and water in a venturi scrubber, is
given by another form of the NukiyamaTanasawa relationship (in m) as follows:
( )
0.45
1.5 0.5
0.5
58, 600
597 1000
L L
d
G L G
L
Q
d
V Q


_
_ _
+


, ,
,
(9)
where the liquid surface tension (dynes/cm), and
L
the liquid viscocity (poise).
2.2 Pressure drop
The pressure drop in venturi scrubbers can be calculated by the model developed by Young
et. al. (1977) by the following equation:
( )
2 4 2 2
1 2 X X X
Q
Q
V P
G
L
G L
+

,
_


(10
)
where P the pressure drop (dyne/cm
2
), and the dimensionless throat length, which can be
calculated by Equation 11 (where l
t
the venturi throat length, in cm). The drag coefficient, C
D
for
droplets with Reynolds numbers, Re, from 10 to 500 can be obtained by Equation 12 (Cooper and
Alley, 2004). The Reynolds number can be calculated using Equation 13 (where
G
the gas density,
in g/cm
3
).
3
1
16
t D G
d L
l C
X
d

+
(11)
,
( )
1/3
24 4
Re
Re
D
C +
(12)
,
Re
d G g
G
d V

(13
)
3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
As has been mentioned above, some of the best educational textbooks for air pollution
abatement technologies (e.g., Cooper and Alley, 2004; Wang et al 2004; Theodore, 2008), consider
the models chosen for the development of the software presented herein, useful in the training of
future engineers in the design of venturi scrubbers. Naturally, these models are not without flaws.
Further, of the numerous models developed in the past 30 years, some were bound to give more
accurate predictions. Thus, a short discussion, comparing the models used in this paper, with other
models reported in the literature is warranted.
Calvert et al (1970) presented the first model for pressure drop in venturi scrubbers,
however, they neglected wall friction and momentum recovery in the divergent section, so other
researchers tried to improve this model. Boll (1973) solved simultaneous equations of drop motion
and momentum exchange for variable cross section ducts with acceptable results, except for very
high and low liquid to gas ratios, where it did not show agreement with the experimental data.
Azzopardi and Govan (1984) considered momentum losses due to accelerating droplets entrained
from the film and the interfacial drag between the fast moving core and the slower moving liquid
film. However, they had little successes with this procedure (Nasseh et al, 2006). Pulley (1997)
carried out various experiments and suggested more effective variables such as drop size,
entrainment at liquid injection and entrainment and deposition along the venturi length. He also
compared pressure drop predictions from various models (amongst these were the models
developed by Young, Boll and Azzopardi) and concluded that the corrected proposed model of
Azzopardi et al. (1991) gave a better prediction of pressure drop for a wider variety of data.
Goncalves et al (2001) studied a large number of models for the prediction of pressure drop in
venturi scrubbers and concluded that all of them must be used with caution.
In regards to collection efficiency, Rudnick et al (1986), vigorously compared the models
developed by Calvert et al (1972), Boll (1973) Young et al (1978) and concluded that the model of
Yung et al (1978) is probably best for most applications because it is an explicit algebraic
expression and gave the best results of the models tested. The model of Calvert et al. (1972), while
also an explicit algebraic expression (and thus easy to use), is very dependent on the choice of the
correlative parameter, f, and thus should be used with caution. One of the latest attempts at
modeling the collection efficiency was undertaken by Concalves et al (2004) who studied the
atomization of the liquid jets injected transversally to a gas stream in a venturi scrubber. A
mathematical model was developed to predict the trajectory, breakup and penetration of the liquid
jets. With this model for liquid jet dynamics, Concalves et al (2004) calculated the spatial
distribution of droplets for the case where liquid was injected through a single orifice in a
rectangular venturi scrubber.
The software presented herein (Figure 3) enables the calculation of a venturi scrubbers
efficiency and pressure drop for the theoretical models described in section 2. The parameters that
are necessary in order to carry out the design are the following: (i) Gas and liquid characteristics
(temperature and pressure - viscosity and density are calculated by the software), (ii) Particle
characteristics (particle distribution and density) and (iii) Process characteristics (volumetric flow
rate and particle loading). Further, when using the Johnstone et al (1954) model the user must
choose a value for the correlation coefficient k (ranges between 0.10.2 acf/gal), while for the
Calvert et al (1972) model the user must know/decide whether the particles that need removing are
hydrophobic or hydrophilic, as this determines the value of the correlation parameter, f (0.25 and
0.5 respectively).
Figure 3: Graphic interface of the software developed Calvert et al (1972) model

FIGURE 4: Efficiency as a function of the
liquid-to-gas ratio
P=1atm, T=80
o
F,
L
=62.22lb/ft
3
,

L
=0.86cp, =71.7dynes/cm,
V
G
=32.68m/s, d
aj
=2.5, 7.5, 15, 35, 60,
80m, m
j
=8, 18, 23, 23, 20, 8%
f=0.5 (Calvert model)
k=0.2acf/gal (Johnstone model)
FIGURE 5: Efficiency as a function of the
gas velocity at the Venturi throat
P=1atm, T=80
o
F,
L
=62.22lb/ft
3
,

L
=0.86cp, =71.7dynes/cm, f=0.5,
Q
L
/Q
G
=1L/m
3
,
d
a
=2.5, 7.5, 15, 35, 60, 80m,
m
j
=8, 18, 23, 23, 20, 8%
f=0.5 (Calvert model)
k=0.2acf/gal (Johnstone model)
Figure 4 presents the predicted efficiency as a function of the the liquid-to-gas ratio for the
models included in the software that was developed in the present work. It can be observed that the
Johnstone model predicts much higher efficiencies even at low ratio values. Moreover, the
difference between the lowest and highest ration values is small, compared to the predictions
obtained using Calverts model. Figure 5, presents the predicted efficiency as a function of the gas
velocity at the venturi throat, In essence, the Johnstone et al (1954) model fails to make any
predictions (predictions close to 100%) regardless of the changes in the throat velocity. This may be
attributed to the large particle diameters chosen for these diagrams. This is better demonstrated in
Figure 6, which shows a curvature in the Johnstone model for particles up to 2m, while Calverts
model reaches peak values at 7m. It should be noted that in all three Figures, Calvert et al (1972)
model predictions are a lot closer to the curve one would normally expect. Figure 7 shows the
predicted efficiency as a function of the the liquid-to-gas ratio, Figure 8, presents the predicted
efficiency as a function of the gas velocity at the venturi throat, and Figure 9 the efficiency as a
function of particle diameter, in Calverts model, for different correlative parameter (f) values,
demonstrating the models dependence on it. This is in accordance to the available literature (see
above) and emphasises the need for caution when using the model.

FIGURE 6: Efficiency as a function of
particle diameter
P=1atm, T=80
o
F,
L
=62.22lb/ft
3
,

L
=0.86cp, =71.7dynes/cm,
V
G
=32.68m/s
f=0.5 (Calvert model)
k=0.2acf/gal (Johnstone model)
FIGURE 7: Efficiency as a function of the
liquid-to-gas ratio Calverts model
P=1atm, T=80
o
F,
L
=62.22lb/ft
3
,

L
=0.86cp, =71.7dynes/cm,
V
G
=32.68m/s
d
a
=2.5, 7.5, 15, 35, 60, 80m,
m
j
=8, 18, 23, 23, 20, 8%

4. CONCLUSIONS
In concluding, the software presented herein offers an easy way to calculate the efficiency
and pressure drop of a venturi scrubber. Some of the most widely used theoretical models for
venturi design have been incorporated in this software. Thus, a comparison of the results predicted
by the models with experimental results, will allow the user to either determine which model
provides the most accurate predictions or to choose the configuration most adapted to an operating
condition. However, in its current state, the software will prove more useful to educators and/or
students of air pollution abatement devices.
A number of improvements could be done in the future to make the software more efficient
by:
(i) Allowing the user to enter the desired collection efficiency or pressure drop in order to
obtain the proposed liquid to gas ratio and/or gas entrance velocity,
(ii) Introducing additional models for the calculation of collection efficiency (e.g. those
developed by Boll (1973), Young et al (1977), Concalves et al (2004)),
(iii) Introducing additional models for the calculation of pressure drop (e.g. those developed by
Boll (1973), Pulley (1997)).
Furthermore, one may also try to incorporate additional wet scrubbing configurations (e.g.
spray towers).
REFERENCES
1. Azzopardi B.J. and A.H. Govan (1984), The modeling of Venturi scrubbers Filtration and
Separation, Vol. 23, pp. 196200.
2. Azzopardi B.J., S.F.C.F. Teixeira, A.H. Govan and T.R. Bott (1991) An improved model
for pressure drop in Venturi scrubbers, Transactions of the Institute of Chemical
Engineers, B69, pp. 5564.
FIGURE 8: Efficiency as a function of the
gas velocity at the Venturi throat
Calverts model
P=1atm, T=80
o
F,
L
=62.22lb/ft
3
,

L
=0.86cp, =71.7dynes/cm,
Q
L
/Q
G
=1L/m
3
, d
aj
=2m
FIGURE 9: Efficiency as a function of
particle diameter Calverts model
P=1atm, T=80
o
F,
L
=62.22lb/ft
3
,

L
=0.86cp, =71.7dynes/cm,
Q
L
/Q
G
=1L/m
3
, V
G
=50m/s
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Engineering Chemistry Fundamentals, Vol 12(1), 40-50.
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