Computer simulation of processing controls on the formation and growth of nanoparticles in FSP

Torabmostaedi, Hosein (2014) Computer simulation of processing controls on the formation and growth of nanoparticles in FSP. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


In this study, the effect of nozzle geometries and processing controls during Flame Spray Pyrolysis (FSP) process were investigated theoretically on a pilot-scale reactor (production rates up to 5 kg h-1 zirconia) and lab scale reactor (production rates up to 74 g h-1 titania). The focus was on the controlled synthesis and continuous production of nanoparticles at high production rates as well as the study of particle formation and growth inside spray flames. The computational models developed in this study were validated by the measured data available from literature for particle dynamics in spray flames and used to process optimization and reactor design. Chapter one presents an overview of applications of nanoparticles and recent advances in synthesis of nanoparticles by Vapour-fed Flame Synthesis (VFS) and Flame Spray Pyrolysis (FSP). A general introduction on the formation and growth of nanoparticles in the gas-phase synthesis of nanoparticles is presented with emphasis on the mechanisms that control the particle morphology after the initial formation of the monomers. Finally, some existing models in the field are presented and compared. The mathematical models adopted in this study are fully described in chapter two. Several numerical models were developed to predict dynamic viscosity and surface tension of precursor solutions, the pumping pressure of precursor solution, the sauter mean diameter (SMD) of droplets during atomization and the particle growth inside the flame by coagulation and sintering. These models were coupled with the computational fluid dynamic (CFD) code to simulate FSP process. The models were validated by comparison with experimental data developed in this study and literatures. In chapter four, the effect of reactor geometries and processing parameters on the temperature and velocity profiles, droplet evaporation and particle growth were predicted using the validated computational models. The results show that the oxidant/dispersion gas gap size and the oxygen content of oxidant/dispersion gas have a big impact on the flame structure and ultimately the particle growth in the flame. In chapter five, investigation is performed to examine the effect of process parameters on the growth of zirconia particles at low, medium and high precursor concentrations. The results show that fine nanoparticles could be synthesized at low precursor concentration and medium production rates while further studies are needed at higher precursor concentrations and production rates. Therefore, in the sixth chapter, emphasis is placed on industrial production of nanoparticles at higher precursor concentrations. A process operation window for industrial-scale production of zirconia nanoparticles using medium and high precursor concentration was developed. The possible solutions to optimize pump performance and atomization quality at industrial scale production rates using high precursor concentration in FSP were investigated. The quantitative results given in this section can be used as a design guide for a prototype industrial FSP nanoparticle production line. Chapter seven extends the work above and investigates the possibility of quenching the FSP flames at industrial scale production rate by using different reactor configurations. The simulations show how choosing the right configuration and process parameters can affect the characteristics and collection of particles at above the burner. In chapter eight, the applicability of the developed approach for particle simulation of zirconia in the previous chapters is examined for flame spray synthesis of titania. In addition, a series of parametric studies was performed to assist better understanding and control over FSP synthesis of Ti02 nanoparticles. In the ninth chapter, a short summary is given along with recommendations for future investigations.

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