Enhanced nanofluidization by alternating electric fields

Daniel Lepek, Jose Manuel Valverde, Robert Pfeffer, Rajesh N. Dave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We show experimental results on a proposed technique to enhance the fluidization of nanoparticle beds. This technique consists of the application of an alternating electric field to the nanofluidized bed. Three different field configurations have been tested: co-flow field, cross-flow field, and variable field configurations. Nanoparticle agglomerates are naturally charged by contact and tribo charging mechanisms and therefore are agitated by the action of the externally applied field, which enhance fluidization. According to our observations, the best results are obtained for the variable field configuration. In this configuration, the electric field strength is higher at the bottom of the bed, whereas it is almost negligible at the free surface. Thus, the larger agglomerates, which tend to sink at the bottom of the bed due to stratification, and usually impede uniform fluidization, are strongly agitated. It is thought that the strong agitation of the bigger agglomerates that usually sink to the bottom of the bed contributes to further homogenize the distribution of the gas flow within the bed by destabilizing the development of gas channels close to the gas distributor. On the other hand, the smaller agglomerates at the vicinity of the free surface are just weakly excited. Consequently, fluidization is greatly enhanced, whereas at the same time excessive elutriation is avoided. It is demonstrated that this technique is even suitable to achieve highly expanded fluidization of unsieved nanopowder samples even though the fluidization state returns to be heterogeneous upon the electric field being turned off.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


  • Agglomeration
  • Electric fields
  • Fluidization
  • Nanoparticles


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