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Numerical and experimental performance evaluation of two multi-stage cloud collectors




Straub, Derek J., author
Collett, Jeffrey L., Jr., author

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An evaluation of the collection characteristics of two new multi-stage cascade inertial impactors designed for size-resolved cloud drop collection has been performed. The FROSTY supercooled cloud collector is intended for the collection of supercooled cloud drops in a winter environment in three independent size fractions with stage 50% cut diameters of 15 μm, 10 μm, and 4 μm . The CSU 5-Stage cloud collector is designed for sampling warm clouds in five distinct fractions on five stages that have desired 50% cut diameters of 30, 25, 15 , 10, and 4 μm. Two approaches were selected for the evaluation of the FROSTY and CSU 5-Stage cloud collectors. Numerical simulations provided a visualization of the air flow patterns and drop trajectories through the collectors while experimental laboratory calibrations provided a quantitative analysis of true collection performance. For each of these methods, 50% cut diameters, efficiency curves, and wall losses for each stage of the FROSTY and CSU 5-Stage collectors were derived. The experimental calibration work indicated that distinct fractions of cloudwater are collected in each stage of the FROSTY and CSU 5-Stage collectors. At laboratory conditions, the experimentally determined 50% cut diameters for the three stages of the FROSTY supercooled cloud collector were 19, 11.5, and 5 μm. Drop losses to the interstage wall surfaces in the FROSTY collector peaked at approximately 35% for 16 μm drops and were lower for larger and smaller drop sizes. For operation at design conditions of 3000 m elevation and -4° C, the 50% cut diameters are expected to decrease to 17, 10.5, and 4.5 μm. The experimentally determined 50% cut diameters, measured at laboratory conditions, for the CSU 5-Stage cloud collector were 25.5, 29, 17.5, 10.5, and 4.5 μm for stages 1 through 5, respectively. Wall losses tended to be higher than those for the FROSTY cloud collector across the drop size range under consideration. Losses peaked at nearly 45% for drops between 10 and 18 μm in diameter and decreased to about 20% at the largest and smallest drop sizes. 50% cut diameters are expected to remain essentially unchanged for CSU 5-Stage collector operation at sea level design conditions. Numerical modeling of the air flow patterns as well as drop trajectories through the FROSTY and CSU 5-Stage cloud collectors was performed with the commercially available Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFO) software package FLUENT, from Fluent, Inc. FLUENT offered two alternatives for the calculation of drop trajectories. Trajectory simulations based on the average continuous phase (air) velocity field as well as trajectory simulations which included the effects of statistically derived turbulent velocity fluctuations on drop motion were performed. Drop collection patterns based on these types of trajectory calculations were used to generate collection efficiency curves. Comparisons were made between the numerically predicted collection efficiency curves and efficiency curves established through experimental calibration. These comparisons indicated that the inclusion of turbulent fluctuation effects on drop motion provided better agreement with experimental observations than trajectories based only on average flow field velocities. However, the use of velocity fluctuations defined by default parameters also produced unrealistic losses to wall surfaces for small drop sizes. The parameters controlling turb lent velocity fluctuation effects on drop motion were examined in an effort to provide better agreement between the numerical and experimental results. Despite this shortcoming, numerically derived 50% cut diameters and overall collection efficiency curve shapes, for drop trajectories including turbulent velocity fluctuations, agreed reasonably well with experimental observations in most cases.


January 1999.
Also issued as Derek J. Straub's thesis (M.S.) -- Colorado State University, 1999.

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Cloud physics
Atmospheric chemistry


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