How Do Cyclone Dust Collectors Work?

Updated November 21, 2016

A cyclone dust collector is an enclosed, conical tube. Particle-filled air is pumped in at the top, above the wide end of the cone. As the air comes in at an angle, it moves down the cone in a spiral, increasing in speed as the cone's circumference grows smaller. This creates a vortex much like a tornado or cyclone. Large particles are thrown against the sides of the cone and drop to a bin at the bottom. A fan at the top of the cyclone cone draws lighter particles and the air up the centre of the cyclone to an exhaust tube or outlet, usually to a filter for catching fine particles. The height of the cone, diameter of the cone and the angle of the walls all affect the efficiency of particle removal. The proper design for the intended use is important.

Multiple Cyclones

Multiple cyclone cones can be set in parallel with each other to remove more dust from the air. Often these will be smaller diameter cones with longer length than a single cone collector. Multiclones, as these systems are called, use a single inlet and outlet for all the cones together.

Industrial Use

Cyclone dust collectors not only remove particles from the air workers breathe as well as reduce pollution sent into the air outside' they can also recover valuable materials. Dusty air in metal ore processing plants, cement manufacture, steel sintering and gypsum processing plants still holds useful particles. If collected, the particles can be reused. Cyclone dust collectors separate these particles from the less useful, lighter-waste dust that is filtered from the air after the heavier particles are removed.

Home Use

In the late 1970s, British industrial designer James Dyson decided a cyclone dust collector would be more efficient in a vacuum cleaner than the standard method of blowing dust through a paper filter or bag. He and his team created over 5,000 prototypes to perfect the design, and in the early 1980s, he began selling his cyclone vacuums for home use. His invention revolutionised the home vacuum industry. His vacuum, named the Dyson, utilises a dual-cyclone system to remove dust from surfaces and keep it from returning to the air. At the top is a multiclone to trap fine particles, while below is a single cyclone to collect larger particles.

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