Ismail Bagci and Kevin South, Fleetguard (Cummins) Inc., Nashville, TN
A technology leader in the heavy-duty filtration industry, Fleetguard (a wholly owned subsidiary of Cummins Engines) uses COMSOL Multiphysics to analyze separators that remove particulates from airflow streams.
In operation, an electrostatic separator first builds up a corona field around a highvoltage electrode. Particles passing through the field pick up a positive charge and then are attracted to a grounding element such as a plate. A higher voltage creates a more powerful corona field and thus a more efficient filterbut when the field strength exceeds a certain level, sparking within the device can arise.
Lost efficiency is only one negative consequence of sparking, which can also cause premature failure of the power supply. Clearly, the designers want to find a field strength that has the highest efficiency that will not provoke sparks.