Jeanette Leeuwner, South Africa finalist

Jeanette, 23, grew up in Grabouw, South Africa. Her curiosity in science and mathematics led her to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch. Currently she is completing her Master’s degree. Her research focuses on modern monitoring techniques of hydrocyclones in the mining industry. Upon graduating with her Bachelor’s degree, she also started to work as a junior lecturer at the University. She is passionate about her classes, and aspires to teach in such a way that her students become excited about her subjects.


Computational fluid dynamic modelling of two phase flow in a mining hydrocyclone

The hydrocyclone is a simple separation device that finds wide application in the chemical and mineral processing industries. Despite its simple design and operational aspects, the modelling of hydrocyclone flow is complicated by turbulence, air core development and suspended particles. Therefore, the need for an alternative modelling technique such as Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) modelling arises.

Multiphase interactions and internal flow features are investigated by the simulation of a two phase (water and air) flow system.
To further research the suitability of CFD modelling as a design tool, the effect of varying device dimensions is also evaluated. Three hydrocyclone geometries, which were specified in previous work, have been modelled. Simulations were executed in a transient state,
to provide a true representative of the internal flow field and air core development. To account for turbulent flow, the Reynolds Stress Model was used. The Volume of Fluid model was also incorporated, to simulate the multiphase interactions.

Results were compared to experimental measurements and found
to predict accurately the velocity field distributions as well as the
presence of the Rankine vortex and the locus of zero vertical velocity.
Pressure field distributions show that a central sub-atmospheric region
is required to establish the air core. In light of this, CFD
modelling proves to be a valuable tool in providing an understanding of
complex hydrocyclone flow and multiphase interactions.


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