A scale-up strategy for a mini-channel hydrodynamic fiber fractionator

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An increasing demand on wood fiber based products requires an increasing efficiency of wood fiber resources. This can be achieved by a selective treatment and usage of two different fiber length classes, which are separated by a novel high performance fractionator. Hydrodynamic fractionation in a mini-channel (miniFrac) exploits network formation of fibers when flowing through a narrow channel: while longer fibers are linked to the network, shorter fibers can be extracted by a suction slot. Since an increase of slot suction rate would decrease fractionation performance, total suction rate is increased by connecting several suction slots in series. We present a scale-up strategy to a pilot scale plant by parallel connection of 16 fractionation channels (i.e., equaling-up). Therefore, a novel bifurcation distributor for fiber suspensions is developed. A comparison of the miniFrac pilot plant to a state of the art fractionation device, i.e., a pressure screen, shows that miniFrac can be operated with higher fractionation performance. Moreover, miniFrac is shown to be significantly more energy efficient than typical pressure screens.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2020

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