Performance study of a disk-to-disk thermal precipitator

Bin Wang, Qisheng Ou, Shu Tao, Da Ren Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In this study, the performance of a thermal precipitator of the disk-to-disk type was investigated experimentally and numerically. The prototype precipitator was basically two disks separated via a circular Teflon® spacer. The temperatures of the two disks (one at elevated temperature and the other at room temperature) were individually controlled by a silicone heating element and running water at room temperature. Monodisperse particles of sodium chloride and fluorescein sodium were used to investigate the particle collection efficiency of the precipitator when operated under various aerosol flowrates and temperature gradients. Our experimental data showed that the particle collection efficiency of the precipitator remained approximately constant for test particles with diameters smaller than 300nm and noticeably decreased as the particle diameter increased beyond 300nm. A numerical model was developed and showed that the calculated particle collection efficiency was in reasonable agreement with experiment observations. Finally, a simple model was developed to estimate the particle collection efficiency of a typical disk-to-disk thermal precipitator. The model indicated that the particle collection efficiency of a disk-to-disk precipitator is a function of cold-disk deposition area, the average thermophoretic velocity, and the aerosol flowrate. This model may be useful in the future design of a thermal precipitator with the similar configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Mr. Wang would like to express the deepest appreciation for the financial support provided by the China Scholarship Council , which enabled him to work in the Particle Laboratory, at Washington University in St. Louis. Thanks are also offered to Mr. Tandeep Singh Chadha, Mr. Fei Xia, Mr. Nathanael Connesson, Ms. Qiaoling Liu, and Dr. Li Huang for their thoughtful discussion and advice about the research.


  • Disk-to-disk thermal precipitator
  • Particle collection efficiency
  • Thermophoresis
  • Ultrafine particle sampler


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