Cyclone separator design for compressor exit flow oil and dust particle cleanup

Team Lead: Santosh Hemachandra


The onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented and rapid increase in demands on public health systems worldwide. Thus, it has become necessary to improve access to key medical equipment such as ventilators in order to offset reduced lung function in symptomatic COVID-19 patients.

Ventilators essentially work by pumping oxygen-rich fresh air into the patients’ lungs and removing carbon dioxide-laden air. Air compressors are used in these systems to provide a reliable and steady source of fresh air. The use of lubricating oil, which is essential for the smooth and reliable operation of air compressors, results in oil droplets in the compressor exit flow that must be removed completely. The presence of atmospheric dust in regions with compromised air quality is another concern. While filters can be effectively used to remove most suspended impurities, high levels of oil droplet and dust particle loading can result in increased filter clogging rates. This will then require frequent system shutdown and maintenance cycles that can hamper medical care.

The aim of this effort is to develop a cyclone-based oil droplet separator system as part of the ongoing IISc ventilator development effort, which can be used to reduce the oil droplet and dust particle load on standard filters, thereby prolonging their life and reducing the requirement for frequent maintenance intervals. The device will work by spinning the droplet and dust-laden air in a tube, causing the suspended matter to move outwards towards the wall, while leaving the air in the core of the tube free of suspended matter. This clean air can then be passed through a final filtration step to render the air quality consistent with medical requirements.

Current status

The team has come up with a preliminary design in collaboration with a local company, Log9Materials.

Current requirement

The team may require help with machining components. Updates will be provided shortly.

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