Application of acoustic agglomeration to enhance air filtration efficiency in air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV) systems
Ng, Bing Feng
Xiong, Jin Wen
Wan, Man Pun
Date of Issue2017
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The recent episodes of haze in Southeast Asia have caused some of the worst regional atmospheric pollution ever recorded in history. In order to control the levels of airborne fine particulate matters (PM) indoors, filtration systems providing high PM capturing efficiency are often sought, which inadvertently also results in high airflow resistance (or pressure drop) that increases the energy consumption for air distribution. A pre-conditioning mechanism promoting the formation of particle clusters to enhance PM capturing efficiency without adding flow resistance in the air distribution ductwork could provide an energy-efficient solution. This pre-conditioning mechanism can be fulfilled by acoustic agglomeration, which is a phenomenon that promotes the coagulation of suspended particles by acoustic waves propagating in the fluid medium. This paper discusses the basic mechanisms of acoustic agglomeration along with influencing factors that could affect the agglomeration efficiency. The feasibility to apply acoustic agglomeration to improve filtration in air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV) systems is investigated experimentally in a small-scale wind tunnel. Experimental results indicate that this novel application of acoustic pre-conditioning improves the PM2.5 filtration efficiency of the test filters by up to 10% without introducing additional pressure drop. The fan energy savings from not having to switch to a high capturing efficiency filter largely outstrip the additional energy consumed by the acoustics system. This, as a whole, demonstrates potential energy savings from the combined acoustic-enhanced filtration system without compromising on PM capturing efficiency.
© 2017 Ng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.