By David Mills (Auth.)
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Extra resources for Pneumatic Conveying Design Guide
Leakage is unavoidable as the returning empty pockets will carry away conveying air and there has to be some clearance between rotor and casing. The magnitude of the loss depends upon the pressure differential across the valve, the valve size, the rotor tip clearance, the nature of the material being handled, and the resistance of air flow by the head of material over the valve. For a 100 mm (4 in) bore pipeline the air leakage could be 15 per cent of the air supplied and even higher for a material such as plastic pellets.
With rotary valves there is little or no pressure differential across the valve in a negative pressure system, and so these systems are particularly suitable for multiple point feeding. In comparison with positive pressure systems, the rotary valve can be a much cheaper item as it does not have to act additionally as an air seal but the filtration plant has to be much larger as a higher volume of air has to be filtered under vacuum conditions. Negative pressure systems have the particular advantage that all gas leakage is inward so that injection of dust into the atmosphere is virtually eliminated.
Many friable and abrasive materials cannot be conveyed at low velocity, and very fine cohesive powders often have to be conveyed at a very high velocity, and hence low efficiency, in order to reduce the problems of build-up on the pipeline walls in conventional systems. Pipeline blockages represent a major problem with many materials and there is often a need to stop and re-start a system during conveying and, for many materials, this cannot be done using conventional systems. The need for low velocity systems has led to the development of a number of innovatory systems in recent years.