Particle Professor: Understanding equipment erosion
This column describes how particles cause equipment erosion and several factors that can affect the erosion rate.
It can be a shock when you look for the reason behind an equipment malfunction and discover that a vital component has completely eroded away. Equipment erosion is probably one of the biggest challenges in particle processing, especially in processes where the particles are hard, nonspherical, and moving. I’ve seen erosion damage in rotary valves, pumps, screw conveyers, pneumatic conveyors, cyclones, and fluidized beds. Sometimes the erosion results in a safety shutdown. At other times, it produces an unexpected maintenance shutdown, usually due to an environmental issue or the potential for a dust explosion.