Case Study

Optimization of a Hydrocyclone Performance Through CFD Modelling

Jon Douglas – Digital Simulations and Modelling Expert

By Engaged Expert

Jon Douglas


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Jon Douglas is an engineering consultant with over twenty-five years of experience across a wide range of sectors including nuclear, gas turbines, renewables, aerospace, and general industry.

The Challenge 

The client (a major global mining company) was interested in understanding and optimizing the performance of their hydrocyclones.

Hydrocyclones are devices that use fluid pressure to generate a centrifugal force able to separate particles according to their weight. Generally, heavier particles are trapped in the underflow and the lighter particles go to the overflow. Hydrocyclones are commonly used within the mining industry to process minerals, separating coarse and fine particles according to their size and density.

The Solution

Our experts developed a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model of a hydrocyclone able to predict pressure drop, water split, cut size, and efficiency. The study of the hydrocyclone involved modelling the interaction between two continuum phases (air and water) and a discrete phase (particles). Good agreement was found between the base model predictions and the experimental data provided by the client.

Figure 1 demonstrates our hydrocyclone simulation model. Note that the heavier particles (represented in blue and purple) become separated from the lighter particles (represented in green and white).

Hydrocyclone CFD Modelling

Figure 1 hydrocyclone simulation model

The Result

The simulation models that Element generated have been proven to be a reliable and cost-effective tool to optimize the performance and design of hydrocyclones within the mining industry.

Contact our Digital Engineering team for more information. 

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