Triboelectric charging of polyethylene powders

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Triboelectric charging remains to be poorly understood phenomenon although this type of charging is considered to be one of the biggest problems in the industrial processing of powders (drugs, flour, polymers). In this contribution, we focus on the charging of polyethylene (PE) particles, whose agglomeration can cause serious economic problems in the industrial production of PE in fluidized-bed reactors. The ‘cascade method’ apparatus, i.e., a slide followed by the Faraday’s pail (figure 1), was utilized to observe the particle-wall charging of PE particles in friction contact with various materials (glass, aluminium, PE). The Faraday’s pail is used to measure the resulting charge on the particle surface, thus the experimental procedure allows us to evaluate the charging dynamics.

The evolution of the charge on the particles follows the saturation curve, where the saturated state is represented by the maximum charge. Such trend can be conveniently fitted by a combination of elementary functions, containing parameters associated with experimental conditions. We determine the dependency of these parameters on various factors, e.g. humidity, the slide surface roughness and the material of the slide.


Juraj Kosek
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University of Chemistry and Technology Prague
Department of Chemical Engineering
Technicka 5
166 28 Prague 6
Czech Republic

University of West Bohemia
New Technologies Research Centre (NTC)
Univerzitní 8
306 14 Pilsen
Czech Republic