ANALYSIS OF PLEATED AIR FILTERS USING
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS
Chang Ming Tsang
A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements
for the degree of Master of Applied Science
Graduate Department of Mechanical and Industriai Engineering
University of Toronto
O Chang Ming Tsang 1997
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Abstract
A nurnencai study was performed to investigate factors influence pressure drop
and flow pattern across pleated air filten. Simulations were done using FLUENT, a
commercial available Computational Fluid Dynarnics (CFD) code. The objectives of this
work were: first, to develop CFD models for different pleated filter configurations;
second, to examine the effect of pleat geometry (shape, height and spacing). approaching
air velocity. and filter configuration (panel filters and cylindrical filters) on the flow
pattern and pressure drop across the pleated filters; third, to obtain a generalized
correlation curve for the design of tnangularly pleated air filters; and finally, to develop a
threedimensional CFD mode1 for a multiple panel filter configuration and investigate the
dependence of the filter pressure drop and filter medium face velocity distribution on the
gap spacing between each panel filter.
Results showed that the pressure &op vs. pleat count per unit length c uve has a
characteristic Ushape curve for all filter configurations studied. The optimal pleat count
(which corresponding to the minimum filter pressure &op) depends on the pleat height,
pleat shape, and filter configuration, but not on the approaching velocity. For rectangular
pleats. the optimal ratio of the upstrearn channel spacing to the downstream channel
spacing was one. By scaling the inertia and viscous terms in the rnomenturn equation, a
generalized correlation curve was obtained for the design of triangularly pleated air
filters. For the multiple panel fiiter configuration, medium face velocity was highly non
uniform along the flow channel; decreasing the gap spacing reduced the average medium
face velocity but increased the total filter pressure drop.
Acknowledgments
1 would like to thank my supervisor Professor Sanjeev Chandra for his invaluable
advice and guidance on this work. 1 thank Val Cnstescsn and Alex Lempp for their
support and input. Val Cristescsn has been particularly helpfl to my work. and the
cylindrical filter pressure drop experimental data were provided by him. A special thanks
is also in order for David Atkinson for his hiendship and moral support.
This work has been financially supported by Vent Master Ltd., Mississauga. Ont.
Table of Contents
Abstract
Acknowledgements
List of Figures
List of Tables
1.0 Introduction
1.1 What 1s Computational Fluid Dynamics?
1.2 Why Use Compuatational Fluid Dynamics?
1.3 Motivation
1.4 Literature Review
1.5 Objectives
2.0 Model Development
2.1 introduction to FLUENT
2.1.1 The Finite Volume Method
2.1.2 The Solution Techniques
2.2 Model Description
2.2.1 Panel Filter Model
2.2.2 Cylindrical Filter Model
3.0 Experimental Validation
3.1 Flat S heet Testing
3.2 Rectangular Panel filter
3.3 Cylindrical Filter
4.0 Results and Discussion
iii
4.1 Analysis of Optimization Parameters
4.1.1 Effect of Pleat Geometry
4.1.1.1 Effect of Pleat Shape
4.1  1 2 Effect of Pleat Height
4.1.1.3 Effect of Variation of Pleat Channel Spacing
4.1.2 Effect of Air Velocity
4.1.3 Effect of Filter Configuration
4.2 Nondimensional Anaiysis
5.0 Threedimensional Simulation of the Multiple Panel
Filter Configuration
5.1 Introduction
5.2 ThreeDimensional Mode1 Description
5.3 Simulation Results and Discussion
5.3.1 Solution Procedure
5.3.2 Flow Field
5.3.3 Medium Face Velocity Distribution
5.3.4 Filter Pressure Drop
6.0 Summary and Conclusions
6.1 Motivation
6.2 Essential Findings
6.2.1 Experimental Validation
6.2.2 Pleating Analysis
6.2.3 Multiple Panel Filter Configuration
References
List of Figures
Figure 1.1 Panel and cylindncal cartridge filters
Figure 1.2 Schematic of the Ultra filter design arrangement
Figure 1.3 Typical section of the filter medium, showing the air streamline and
electric field
Figure 1.4 Kiosk Ventilation System
Figure 1.5 Geometry details of Kiosk Ventilation System
Figure 2.1 Grids, nodes and control volumes in FLUENT
Figure 2.2a Computational domain for the rectangularly pleated filter medium
Figure 2.2b Typical mesh distribution for the rectangularly pleated filter medium
Figure 2.3a Computational domain for the triangularl y pleated filter medium
Figure 2.3b Typical mesh distribution for the triangularly pieated filter medium
Figure 2.4 Modeled cylindrical filter configuration
Figure 2.5a Computational domain for the cylindrical filter
Figure 2.5b Typical mesh distribution for the cylindrical filter
Figure 3.1 Schematic of the experimental apparatus used for the panel filter
Figure 3.2 Flow charactenstics of the selected filter medium
Figure 3.3a Expenmental results vs. simulation results, triangular pleated panel
filter. pleat height 1.3 cm, at 1.5 pleatskm
Figure 3.3 b Experimental results vs. simulation results, triangular pleated panel
filter, pleat height 1.3 cm, at 2.4 pleatskm
Figure 3 . 3 ~ Experimental results vs. simulation results, triangular pleated panel
filter, pleat height 1.3 cm, at 3 pleatskm
Figure 3.3d Experimental results vs. simulation results, tnangular pleated panel
filter, pleat height 1.3 cm, at 4 pleatskm
Figure 3.4
Figure 3 5
Figure 3. 6
Figure 4.1 a
Figure 4.1 b
Figure 4.2
Figure 4.3
Figure 4.4
Figure 4.5
Figure 4.6
Figure 4.7
Figure 4.8
Figure 4.9
Figure 4.10
Figure 4.1 1
Figure 4.12
Experimental results vs. simulation results, triangular pleated panel
fiiter, pleat height 1.3 cm, at 1 mis
Schematic of the experirnental apparatus used for the cylindrical filter
Experimental results vs. simulation results, cylindrical filter, pleat
height 1.3 cm, 2.44 pleatdcm
Velocity vector diagrams for rectangular pleats, pleat height 1.3 cm.
inlet velocity at I m/s
Velocity vector diagrams for triangular pleats, pleat height 1.3 cm.
inlet velocity at 1 m/s
Effect of pleat shape on medium face velocity distribution,
rectangular pleats, pleat Iength 1 3 cm, inlet velocity 1 m/s
Effect of pleat shape on medium face velocity distribution.
triangular pleats, pleat length 1.3 cm, inlet velocity 1 rn/s
Effect of pleat shape on pressure drop, pleat length 1.3 cm.
inlet velocity 1 m/s
Effect of pleat height. rectangularly pleated panel filter,
inlet velocity 1 m/s
Effect of pleat height. triangularly pleated cylindrical filter.
inlet velocity 1 rn/s
Effect of pleat height, cylindrical filter, inlet velocity 1 rnls
Variations in rectangular pleat spacing, pleat length 2.0 cm,
inlet velocity 1 m/s
Effect of approaching velocity, rectangularly pleated panel filter,
pleat height 2.0 cm
Effect of approaching velocity, tnangularly pleated panel filter,
pteat length 2.0 cm
Pressure &op ratio vs. velocity ratio, panel filter, pleat length 2.0 cm,
velocities : 0.5 m/s and 1 mis
Effect of filter configuration, triangularly pleated, pleat length 2.0 cm,
inlet velocity 1 mis 56
Figure 4.13
Figure 4.14
Figure 4.15
Figure 5.1
Figure 5.3
Figure 5.3
Figure 5.4
Figure 5.5
Figure 5.6
Figure 5.7a
Figure 5.7b
Figure 5 . 7 ~
Figure 5.7d
Figure 5.7e
Figure 5.7f
Figure 5.7e
Figure 5.8a
Channel with varying crosssectional areas
Schematic for medium face velocity calculation
Generalized correlation curve for triangularly pleated panel filter
Schematic of the multiple panel filter configuration
Computational domain
Sirnplified computational domain
Grid outline and typical mesh distribution
lsometnc view of the velocity vector field
Velocity vectors viewed in twodimensional planes
Filter medium face velocity distribution. 2 cm gap spacing
configuration
Filter medium face velocity distribution, 4 cm gap spacing
configuration
Filter medium face velocity distribution. 6 cm gap spacing
configuration
Filter medium face velocity distribution, nonuniform gap spacing
configuration with 8 cm upstream channel spacing and 4 cm
downstream channel spacing
Fiiter medium face velocity distribution, comparison between 6 cm
gap spaicng configuration with 8 cm upstream channel spacing and
4 cm downstream channei spacing
Filter medium face velocity distribution, nonuniform gap spacing
c ~ ~ g u r a t i o n with 4 cm upstream channel spacing and 8 cm
downstream channel spacing
Filter medium face velocity distribution, comparison between 6 cm
gap spaicng configuration with 4 cm upstream channel spacing and
8 cm downstream channel spacing
Normalized static pressure distribution, 2 cm gap spacing configuration 78
vi i
Figure 5.8b Normalized static pressure distribution, 4 cm gap spacing configuration 78
Figure 5 . 8 ~ Normalized static pressure distribution, 6 cm gap spacing configuration 79
Figure 5.8d Normaiized static pressure distribution, nonuniforrn gap spacing
configuration with 8 cm upstream channei spacing and 4 cm
downstream channel spacing
Figure 5.8d Normalized static pressure distribution, nonuniforni gap spacing
configuration with 4 cm upstream channel spacing and 8 cm
downstream channel spacing
viii
List of Tables
Table 3.1 Physical properties of selected filter medium
Table 3.2 Expenmentai results
1.0 Introduction
1.1 What is Computational Fluid Dynamics?
The physical aspects of any fluid flow are govemed by three fundamental principles:
(1) mass is conserved; (2) Newton's second Iaw (force = mass , acceleration); and
(3) energy is conserved. ni ese fundamental physical principles can be expressed in
terms of basic mathematical equations, which in their most general form are either
integral equations or partial differential equations. Computational Fluid Dynamics
(CFD) is the process of replacing the integrals or the partial denvatives in these
equations with discretized algebraic foms. which in tum are solved to obtain
numbers for the flow field values at discrete points in tirne andor space.
The solution methods are meshbased. where the equations are discretized in either
finitedifference, finitevolume or finiteelement form. The mesh itself must be
defined by the user so that it represents the geometry of the flow domain of interest.
Equations for velocity components. pressure. temperature and contaminant
concentration are solved at each of the small volumes (called cells or elements)
defined by the mesh.
1.2 Why Use Computational Fluid Dynamics?
In the 705, due to the limitation of the algorithms and the high cost of cornputers,
CFD was used almost exclusively in aircrafi and nuclear power industries. Also, the
storage and speed capacities of digital computers were not sufficient to allow CFD to
simulate any complicated threedimensionai geometry. Today, however, this story
had changed substantially due to the developments in areas of numerical analysis and
in faster and lowercost computers. In today's CFD, threedimensional flow field
solutions are abundant; they may not be routine in the sense that a great deal of
human and computer resources are still frequentiy needed to successfully cany out
such threedimensional solutions, but such solutions are becoming more and more
prevalent within industry. Indeed. modern CFD cuts across d l disciplines where the
flow of fluid is important, and is increasingly becoming a vital cornponent in the
design of industrial products and processes.
One such area is concerned with the design of cartridge air filters. Cartridge air
filters are used in a variety of industry applications. including automobile air inlet,
home furnaces and air conditioners, etc. Cartridge air filters corne in a variety of
shapes; the two most popular configurations found in prlctice are tie rectangular
panel filter and the cylindrical filter (Figure 1.1). In general, cartridge air filters have
several features which distinguish them from other types of air filters. They have two
basic components: a housing and a module. The housing holds the filter module and
fluid being filtered. It may be permanently mounted ont0 a piece of equipment or
disposable. In contras to some other types of filters, the filter module is removable.
The module consists of filter medium, seals, and related support matenals. The filter
medium is the hem of the cartridge filter since it perfoms the actual separation.
Pleated filter medium is often used to increase the effective area of filtration, so
reducing the filter medium face velocity and thus the pressure drop across the filter
Figure 1. 1  Panel and Cylindrical canridge filters [ I ]
medium. Seals ensure that unfiltered fluid is not allowed to bypass the filter
medium. Additional support material is ofien required to maintain the physical
integrity of the medium.
Through the years the design of cartridge air filters has usually been based on
laboratory testing: prototypes are built, tested and modified until a 'best' design is
obtained. Although laboratory testing is an invaluable tool of the designer, it suffers
a number of drawbacks. Building and testing prototypes is in most cases expensive,
time consurning, and often the testing results do not tell the engineer why a design
change is having the observed eEect on performance.
CFD techniques have the potential to allow the effect of a proposed design change
to be evaluated relatively quickly. A computational investigation can be performed
with remarkable speed. and the cost of a cornputer nui is, in most applications. lower
than the cost of a corresponding expenmental investigation. The output fiom CFD
codes gives detailed and complete information. It can provide the values of al1 the
relevant variables (such as velocity, pressure, temperature, concentration, turbulence
intensity) throughout the domain of interest. A designer can study the implications
of hundreds of different configurations in a short period of time and choose the
optimum design.
1.3 Motivation
Of particular interest to this study is the Ultra Filter, which uses a nonionizing
electric field to trap airborne particdate in an electncally enhanced filter material
[2]. Electrostatic forces are set up within a fibrous mat without intentional charging
of the particles; particle capture is enhanced by the combination of polarization
forces with inertial forces due to air fiow around the fibers. The design arrangement
of the UltraFilter is shown in Figure 1.2. Air is introduced into a filter assembly
compnsing of three wire meshes held parallel to each other and separated by a 1.3
cm spacing. Pleated fibrous filter matenal is sandwiched between the second and the
third meshes. An electric field is maintained within the filter medium by applying 3
kV to 9 kV between the meshes. The important quality about this field is that it is, in
general, directed radially inward or outward at the fiber surfaces and that the field is
more intense at the fiber surfaces than the intervening spaces [3,4,5,6]. Figure 1.3 is
a typical magnifird section of the filter medium showing air streamlines and the
electric field. Since the field is nearly radial at the fiber surface, the direction of its
most rapid change will be nearly radial, and the polarization force on particles near
the fiber will be approximately radial, directed toward the fiber. Particles will thus
migrate across streamlines more rapidly than they would fiom inenial effects alone,
and have a higher probability of capture than when no field is present. Consequently,
the filter matenal captures particles much smaller than its pore size, and this
minimizes clogging of the filter. The electrical properties of air at the input and
wire rieshes
medium
Figure 1.2  Schematic of the ULTRAFilter design arrangement
Figure 1.3  Typical section of a charged filter medium, showing air streamlines and
electric field
output of the filter assembly are the same, namely "neutral" (no ionized particles are
emitted) .
The invention of UltraFilter overcomes the common problems found in
conventional electrostatic air filters and mechanical filters including the High
Efficiency Particdate air filters (HEPA) and the Ultra Low Penetration air filters
(tJLPA). Conventional electrostatic air filters operate at very high voltages, which
require expensive insulation and safety precautions as well as substantiai power, and
they produce ozone which constitutes a health hazard. Mechanical air filters are
unable to capture particles smaller than their pore size, and they are also subject to
rapid clogging by captured particles. Furthemore, the clogging takes place mostly
on the inflow surface of the filter, and the thickness of the filter material for holding
particles is not utilized.
The constraint on UltraFilter? however, is that at high air velocities, the inertial
force of the particles may overcome the polarization force and thus the particles may
bypass the field. Therefore, the air flow through the filter medium must be
maintained at a low velocity to ensure good particle capture efficiency; low velocity
also has the advantage of lower pressure drop. High particle capture eficiencies
were found for filter medium face velocities in the range fiom 1 cmk to 5 crn/s.
Face velocities higher than this range resulted in a dramatic &op in the capture
efficient y.
A ventilation equiprnent Company, VentMaster Ltd., Mississauga, Ont., developed
an indoor electric cooking ventilation system called Kiosk Ventilation System (KVS)
using the UltraFilter technology (Figure 1.4). This system is a completely self
Figure 1.4  Kiosk Ventilation System
REAR VlRN L E R StDE Vl FN
IEMIZED PAMS UST
1 j C:eaned exhaus: discharge grill 1 10 1 Fan wheeVinlet wne
2 ( 40% Prefilter / 11 l Drive motor
3 1 95% Medium filter / 12 1 Fan shaftheanngs
4 1 99% HE?A filter 1 13 1 Conml mnel
S 1 Fire damoer 1 14 1 Acoustic silencer
, 6 1 Odor control sgray system (optionaO 1 15 1 Cooking aouliance ci mi t breaker
7 1 Pressure sensor swctc!es/firesat 1 16 ( Coaking a~oliance terminal blcck
8 1 Hinged acctss doars 1 17 ) Cycio Glean grease filter
9 1 Fre suppression q s e m 1 18 ( Mctncai connedon
Figure 1.5  Geometry details of the Kiosk Ventilation System
9
contained exhaust & makeup air system; it is designed for cooking in buildings
where standard exhaust ducthg is not practicd, such as food kiosks in shopping
malls and office building. The detailed geometry of the complete system is shown in
Figure 1 S. Due to the space constraint and the complexity of the effects of pleating,
this Company has experienced certain difficulties in optimizing the filter geometry
design in order to achieve the required medium face velocity and to attain minimum
filter pressure drop. In order for the filter of this invention to accomplish its
objectives, a detailed optimization parametric study on the pleating effect and the
filter configuration was necessary.
1.4 Literature Review
Most of the early studies of porous media flow were based on Darcy's law [7].
Darcy observed that the pressure drop across a flat filter medium is directly
proportional to the rate of fluid flow through them. In its simplest f om, Darcy's law
is:
I,
Where p is the fluid viscosity, v is the velocity vector, and k is a constant of
proportionality depending on the filter medium structure. Several models based on
Stoke's equation of creeping flow have been proposed to justifi Darcy's law.
Stoke's equation is:
These included the ce11 models of Kuwabara [8]. He developed the classical 'cell'
model which provided an approximate method of calculating the forces experienced
by randornly distributed spheres or parallel circuiar cylinders in Stoke's flow. The
ce11 model was evaluated by Henry and Ariman [9]. They solved StokeTs equation
over an array of cylinders and the results agreed well with Kuwabara's model. Fardi
and Liu [10,11] also modeled Stoke's flow over a staggered array of rectangular
fibers.
Although Darcy's law is well established for flow through fibrous filters, it has two
major limitations: (1) the flow rate has to be low; (2) Darcy's law is a first order
differential equation, in contmst to Stoke's equation which is a second order
differential equation; it is dificult to match the solutions of the two equations at the
boundary of the free fluid and the porous medium. To rernove the second limitation,
Brinkman 1121 developed a semiempincal equation by adding a body darnping force
proportional to the velocity in addition to viscous and pressure forces in DarcyTs
equation:
Where p, is defined as the effective viscosity, which is a fitting parameter to be
used for fluid inside the porous medium. Brinkman's equation accounted for the
interaction of the fluid with the porous medium, and hence was known as the
modified Darcy's law. Numerous experimental works have been done to establish
the validity of the Brinkman's equation [1 jT14,1 51. To remove the first limitation
and make it applicable to higher flowrates, Darcy's law was M e r modified [16,17]
by incorporating a convective term:
Where E is the porosity of the filter medium.
Obviously, more complexities are presented for pleated filter medium. The
pressure drop across a pleated filter medium is different fiom that across a flat sheet
medium. It is a function of pleat height. pleat shape, filter medium charactenstics,
filter configuration, and air velocity. Currently, there is limited information on the
design of pleated air filters available in the literature.
Yu and Goulding [18,19] developed a semianalytical method to model
rectangularly pleated panel filters. They modeled the flow field in the pleat spacing
as channel flow with suction or injection prescnbed at the bounding walls. The pleat
height was divided into finite elements with uniform mass addition and extraction
applied to each. The pressure drop across the wall was calculated using Darcy's law,
and then the flow velocity at the wall was calculated based on the filter media flow
characteristics. The final solution was obtained by applying a numerical iterative
method dong the pleat channel. Because Darcy's law is only valid at a low
Reynolds number, i.e., the viscosity dominated region, this model c m be used only
to analyze panel filters operating at a low flow rate. Furthemore, the effects of
developing flow, flow contraction, flow expansion, and reduced permeability at the
corner of the pleat were neglected.
Chen and Pui [20,21] also developed a finite element model to calculate the total
pressure &op across rectangularly pleated filter panels. The model included al1 the
effects that were neglected by Yu and Goulding's model. The upstream and
downstream flow fields were modeled as steady laminar flows, and a uniform
velocity profile was assumed at the far upstream. The flow passing through the filter
media was modeled by the DarcyLapwoodBBnkman equation (equation 1.4). The
governing equations were solved using a numencal fmite element method with a
ninenode Lagrangian element. The numencal results agreed well with the
expenmental data and the analytical model of Yu and Goulding [19]. No numerical
rnodel has been developed for triangularly pleated panel air filters and cylindncal air
filters.
1.5 Objectives
The objectives of this snidy can be summarized as follows:
1) To demonstrate the use of a commercial available computational fluid dynamics
code, FLUENT, in simulating flow through pleated air filters.
2) To examine the eEects of air velocity, pleat geometry (length, spacing), pleat
shape (triangular, rectangular), filter configuration (panel, cylindncal) on the filter
pressure &op.
3) Use nondimension analysis and information gained in (2) to obtain a correlation
design curve for triangularly pleated air filten.
4) To develop a threedimensional cornputer model for a multiple panel filter
configuration and investigate the dependence of filter medium face velocity and
pressure drop on the filter geometry.
2.0 Mode1 Development
2.1 Introduction to FLUENT
The simulations were done using FLUENT, a commercial CFD code for modeling
fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical reaction. FLUENT can mode1 a wide range of
physical phenomena, including: 2D/3D geometries in Cartesian, cylindncal or
general curvilinear coordinates; steady state or transient flow; incompressible or
compressible flow; laminar or turbulent fiow; conduction/convection/radiation heat
transfer, and flow through porous media.
FLUENT models b i s wide range of phenomena by solving the conservation
equations for mas , momentum, energy, and chemical species using the finite volume
method. The goveming equations are discretized on each finite volume or grid. A
nonstaggered system is used for storage of discrete velocities and pressures.
Interpolation is accomplished via a firstorder, PowerLaw scheme or optionally via
higher order upwind schemes. The equations are solved using the SIMPLEC
algorithm with an iterative linebyline matrix solver and multignd acceleration.
A basic understanding of the above techniques will be helpful here, and in later
chapters as well. Hence, the following section contains a brief outline of the relevant
principles of the finite volume method.
2.1.1 The Finite Volume Method
FLENT employs what could be termed a gridbased geometry, in which the
geometry of the mode1 is detemined by control volumes defined by the grid [22].
Figure 2.1 illustrates the grid definition and ce11 nurnbering system used by
FLUENT. The grid lines define the boundaries of control volumes or cells. The ce11
center 0,J) is located at the geornetrk center of the control volume or ce11 (I,J). This
ce11 center is the storage for al1 dependent variables, such as: pressure, temperature,
velocity, etc.
Iine
I I
(11 )'h lm
gnd grid
line line
Figure 2.1  Grid lines, nodes and control volumes in FLUENT
FLUENT solves the goveming partial differential equations for the conservation of
mas, momenhim, energy and chernical species in a general form which can be
written in cartesian tensor notation as :
where + is the conserved quantity, and the first term on the left hand side of diis
equation signifies the rate of change of the total arnount of property t$ in the control
volume (zero for steady flow). The second term is the convection term which
represents the net rate of decrease of property 4 due to convection. The fust term on
the right hand side of the equation is the diaision term which represents the net rate
of increase of property 4 due to diffusion, and the last term is the source t e m which
gives the rate of increase of property t$ as a result of sources inside the fluid element.
The equations are reduced to their finitedifference analogs by integration over the
computational ceils into which the domain is divided. Me r the integration of
equations of the form of Equation 2.1. the resulting algebraic equations can be
written in the following common fom:
where the summation is over the neighboring finite difference cells. The A' s are
coefficients which contain contributions fkom the convective and diffusive fluxes and
Sc and S, are the components of the linearized source term, Sa = Sc +
Each control volume in a FLUENT mode1 has a cell type. Ce11 types are assigned
as part of the probiem setup procedure, which defines the way in which the ce11 is
treated during the solution process. In other words, the ce11 type tells FLUENT
whether the control volume is filled with fluid, or if the control volume defines a
wall, inlet, outlet, etc.
2.1.2 Solution Techniques
The set of simultaneous algebraic equations is solved by a semiimplicit iterative
scheme:
1) The u,v, and w momennim equations are each solved in tum using current values
for pressure, in order to update the velocity field.
2) Since the velocities obtained in step 1 may not satisfy the mass continuity
equation locally, a pressure correction equation is derived fiorn the continuity
equation and the linearized momentum equations. This equation is then solved to
obtain the necessary corrections to the pressure and velocity fields such that
continuity is achieved.
3) Any auxiliary equations (e.g., enthalpy. species conservation, or any additional
quantities) are solved using the previously updated values of the other variables.
4) The fluid properties are updated.
5) A check for convergence of the equation set is made.
These steps are continued until the error has decreased to a required value.
The accuracy of the solution is govemed by the number of cells in the grid. In
general, the larger the number of cells the better the solution accuracy. Both the
accuracy of a solution and its cost in terms of necessary computer hardware and
computing time are dependent on the fineness of the grid. It is the usual practice to
start the problem using coarse gnd and refine the grid until no further change is seen
in the converged solution.
2.2 Mode1 Descriptions
The assurnptions made in both panel filter model and cylindrical filter mode1 for
filter pleating analysis were:
1. twodimensional geometrical configuration
2. steadystate laminar flow
3. the fluid has the properties of air
4. unifonn velocity profile at the inlet of the flow domain
The filter medium was modeied using FLUENT'S porous ceil model, which solves
the mornentum equation augmented by a general momentwn sink:
where k and C2 are defined as the permeability and the inertial factor of the porous
medium, respectively. The inertial factor provides a correction for inertial losses in
the porous medium at high flow velocity. Both constants have to be determined
empiricaliy .
This equation contributes to the pressure gradient in the porous ceil, creating a
pressure drop that is in proportion to the flow velocity (or velocity squared). In
addition, the porous cells are 100% open, so the fluidmedium interaction is not
modeled; this may have a significant impact in transient flows since it irnpiies that
the transit time for flow through the medium is not correctly represented by
FLUENT.
2.2.1 Panel filter model
Panel filters were modeled as a series of channels with either triangular or
rectangular crosssection. Because of geometrical symrnetry, the computational
domains for both rectangular and tnangular pleats c m be simplified as shown in
Figure 2.2a and 2.3a. The symrnetry boundary conditions were imposed on the flow
boundaries, and a uniform velocity profile was specified at the idet boundary. Note
that for the mangular pleat model, the thickness of the filter medium in the flow
direction varies with the pleating angle. A typical rrs h for each pleat shape is
shown in Fig 2.2b and 2.3b.
2.2.2 Cylindricai Filter Mode1
The cylindrical filter configuration modeled is shown in Figure 2.4. Air flows into
the filter through the open end and exits circumferentially through the pleated filter
medium. Since the purpose of this analysis was to shidy the effect of filter
configuration on the pleating design, the flow through the pleated filter medium was
assumed uniform. This also reduced the problem to twodimensions.
pl eat ed f i l t e r me d i u m
/
O ppr OQ c hi1713
vel oci t y
t r1 +
Figure 2.4  Schematic of the modeled cylindrical

upst r ean channel
downstrean chonne(
     ,  ,
 1
W : pl eat spocing
L : p( eat height
h : channel hot f  wi dt h
t : f i l t er me di um thi ckness
figure 2.2a  Computational domain for the rectangularly pleated filter medium
Figure 2.2b  Typical mesh distribution for the rectangularly pleated filter medium
Opproa ching
vet oc~t y
W : pl eat spacing
L : p l e o t height
t : f i l t e r medium thi ckness
Figure 2.3a  Computational domain for the iangularly pleated filter medium
Figure 2.3b  Typical mesh distribution for the triangularly pleated filter medium
For cylindrical filter codiguration, the downstream pleat spacing is relatively
larger than the upstream pleat spacing. This was modeled using polar coordinates,
and since the flow repeats every pleat, our mode1 needed only a sector angle equai to
one pleat spacing with cyclic boundary conditions imposed at the circumferential
flow boundaries. The computationai domain and a typical mesh are shown in Figure
2.5a and 2.5b. There is no special coding within FLUENT to cope with the case of a
twodimensional flow in which the axial coordinate is neglected. Therefore,
symmetry boundary conditions were imposed at the axial flow boundaries to perfonn
pseudo twodimensional R8 calcuIations, i.e., there are only three cells in the axiai
direction. he symmetry cells apply a zerogradient boundary condition which is
equivalent to a twodimensional domain.
Perlodic boundaries
approaching vei oci ty
Figure 2.5a  Computational domain for the triangularly pieated filter medium with
cylindricai filter configuraiton
Figure 2.Sb  Typicd mesh distribution for the triangularly pleated filter medium with
cylindrical f i l ter configuration
3.0 Experimental Validation
In order to validate the FLUENT models, pressure drop expenments were perfonned for
a rectangular panel filter and a cylindrical filter. Both filters were triangularly pleated
with a 1.3 cm pleat height. The filter medium used was the DID0/4/40 filter medium,
obtained fiom Vent Master Ltd. The specification of this filter medium is shown in Table
TYPE BASIC WEIGHT
( d m3
100 % cellulose
Table 3.1  Physicai Properties of Selected Filter Medium
PERMEABILITY
c d s at 125 pa
122
3.1 Flat Sheet Testing

THICKNESS
mm
The flow characteristics of the filter medium was obtained by flat sheet testing. The
apparatus used is s h o w in Figure 3.1 (note that apparatus was also used for the pleated
panel filter testing). The flat filter medium was mounted at the i det of the plexiglas duct
which has a crosssection of 30 cm x 30 cm. An elecuic blower (KGXL, Kanalflakt Inc.,
Sarasota, FL) was used to draw air into the duct through the filter medium. The pressure
drop across the filter panel was measured by a pressure gauge (Magnehelic Gage, N D
46360, Dwyer Instruments Inc., MICH) mounted downstrearn of the filter. The
approaching air velocities were varied by manually adjusting the speed of the electric
Figure 3.1  Schematic of the panel filter pressure drop measurement setup
blower. Velocity measurements were performed at nine grid points at the panel filter face
using a hot wire anemometer (Kun Ltd.). and the average of the nine rneasurements was
taken as the filter medium face velocity. Figure 3.2 shows the measured pressure drop
across the filter medium as a function of medium face veiocity. The data were c w e
fitted to a second order polynornial with zero constant term to obtain k and Ci
(permeability and inertial factor, see Equation 2.3) for input to FLUENT models. The
resulting fitted equation is:
AP = 13. 32~' + 190.79~
and k and C2 were found to be 4.17 x 1 O' ' rn2 and 4.45 x 1 o4 rn', respectively.
3.2 Rectangular Panel Filter
h e apparatus used for testing the pleated rectangular panel filter is the same as for the
flat sheet testing (Figure 3.1). The filter panel was mounted at the inlet of the plexiglas
duct. Gaskets were designed to hold and suaport the pleated filter medium. Again, the
Figure 3.2  Filter medium flow characteristics
pressure drop across the pleated filter panel was rneasured by the sarne pressure gauge
meter mounted downstream, and the velocity measurernents were performed at nine grid
points at the filter panel face using the hot wire anemometer, with the average value taken
as the approaching air velocity. The pleat count was varied from 0.9 pleatskm to 4.5
pleatskm, and 4 to 7 pressure drop readings were taken for each pleat count with
approaching velocities varied fiom 0.5 m/s to 2.0 d s (shown in Table 3.2). Figure 3.3
shows the cornparison of the experimental results (pressure &op vs. velocity at each pleat
count) with the FLUENT mode1 results. It can be seen that both results agreed very well.
Because the approaching velocities were varied by manually adjusting the speed of the
elecic blower, it was dificult to obtain the same velocity reading for each pleat count.
For the purpose of comparing the experimental results with the FLUENT mode1 results
with regard to filter pressure &op vs. pleat count per unit Iength. the measured data were
fitted to a curve for each pleat count. Pressure drop was then calculated from this curve
with the corresponding velocity used in FLUENT models and compared with the pressure
drop calculated fiom the FLUENT models. It is interesting to noted that for al1 pleat
counts measured, the resulting data were best fitted to a power curve.
Figure 3.4 shows a cornparison between the results of simulation and experiment (filter
pressure drop vs. pleat count). Both results agreed quite well and demonstrate the
charactenstic 'U' shape curve. Pleating reduces the medium face velocity and thus, the
pressure drop through the filter medium; however, excessive pleating causes the pressure
drop to rise again resulting from the viscous drag in the pleat channel. The optimal pleat
count occurs when the combination of the pressure drop through the filter medium and
velocity ( ds )
OS9
pressure &op @a)
30
f
1.19
1.54
1.64
2 pleatkm
velocity ( d s )
L
0.7 1
0.8 1
0.9
1.5 pleatkm
velocity (ds)
0.52
0.89
0.52
0.98
velocity (mis)
0.63
1 .O6
1.35
1.5
1.75
3.5 pleatlcm
velocity (m/s)
0.57
' 42
45
6Q
pressure drop (pa)
25
40
60
75
82
pressure drop @a)
Table 3.2  Expenmental resufts
pressure drop @a)
21
50
56
65
1
75
pressure drop @a)
20
20
40
1
' 1.09
1.25
1.39
1.67
1.90
2.4 pleatkrn
velocity (m/s)
0.5 1
velocity (mk)
0.69
0.84
1.18
1.51
1.68
4 pleaUcrn
pressure drop @a)
25
4
27
45
55
62
\
velocity (m/s)
0.43
45
50
55
65
70
pressure drop @a)
15
pressure drop @a)
25
0.94
1.35
1.56
1.75
4.5 pleatkm
velocity (rn/s)
0.46
0.76
40
67
80
87
4
pressure drop @a)
38
65
Y 
O 0.5 1 1.5 2
velocity (mis)
Figure 3.3a  Experimental results vs. simulation results, triangularly pleated panel filter,
pleat height 1.3 cm, at 1.5 pleatdcm.
velocity (m/s)
80 
70  l
60 .
50
40  ,
30 
20 
I O 
O ,
Figure 3.3 b  Experimental results vs. simulation results, triangularly pleated panel filtcr,
pleat height 1.3 cm, at 2.4 pleatdcm.
I
s i mu l a t i o n
A
7 1 I
O 0.5 1 1.5 2
velocity (m/s)
Figure 3 . 3 ~  Experimenta! resuits vs. simulation results, triangulariy pleated panel filter,
pleat height 1.3 cm, at 3 pleatdcm.
O OS 1 1.5 2
velocity (m/s)
Figure 3.3d  Experirnental resuits vs. simulation results, triangularly pleated panel filter,
pleat height 1.3 cm, at 4 pleats/cm.
2 3 4 5
pleat countlcm
4
Figure 3 .?  Experimentai results vs. simulation results, triangularly pleated panel filter, pleat
height 1.3 cm, at 1 d s .
I I I
T
mediun resi st anco viscous Force
doninated region donina t e d region

0
  , 
A
experiment
simulation
the viscous drag in the pleat channel is a minimum.
The discrepancy between the
experimental results and numerical predictions in the high pleat count region is mainly
due to the pleat bunching eEect. It was observed during the experirnent that pleat
bunching occurred at approximately 3 pleatskm, which caused a highly nonuniform
velocity distribution at the filter medium face. The effect of pleat punching becarne more
senous with increasing pleat count; at 4.5 pleatdcm, the pressure drop rise rapidiy. This
reveais the thickmess and the flexibility of the filter medium are ds o important factors in
pleat optirnization.
Other possible causes of the discrepancy are: (1) the error associated with the readings
from the pressure gauge, which was taken as one half the smallest division on the scale;
in our case it was 2.5 Pa. (2) the error associated with the readings from the hot wire
anemometer, also taken as one half of the smdlest division on the scaie, and in our case it
was 2.6 cm/s ( 2.4 Pa, obtained from the filter medium characteristics curve. see Figure
3.2). Also, the gaskets holding the filter medium created an additional pressure drop
(flow expansion downstrearn of the filter panel) which was not accounted for in the
FLUENT models.
3.3 Cylindrical Filter
Figure 3.5 shows a schematic diagram of the apparatus used to test the cylindrical filter.
Experiment procedures were similar to the panel filter measurement. Velocity
measurements were performed at the HEPA filter face using the hot wire anemometer;
the obtained velocity was convened to the approaching velocity at inlet of the cylindrical
filter housing using the area ratio (the crosssection area of the duct to the crosssection
pr essur e
diFferentirii
cylindrica fil t er

exhoust

ai r blower
HfPA fi l t <l r
Figure 3.5  Schematic of the cylindrical filter pressure drop measurement setup
area of the cylindrical filter). Pressure drop across the filter was measured by the
pressure gauge meter. Experiments were performed for one pleat count only (2.4
pleatskm). As stated previously, we were only interested in the effect of filter
configuration on pleating design, not the flow pattern inside the cylindrical filter. Since
the only effect was the change in pleat geometry, measurements of more pleat counu
were not necessary.
Figure 3.6 shows the cornparison of the simulation results with the experimental
results. It c m be seen that the pressure drop fiom expenment was higher than the mode1
prediction throughout the whole velocity range. This was expected since the pressure
drop reported fiom the experiment included the additional losses resulting &om 80w
contraction and flow expansion at the filter inlet.
velocity (rn/s)
Figure 3.6  Expenmental results vs. simulation results, cylinrical filter, pleat height
1.3 cm. 2.44 pleatskm.
4.0 Results and Discussion
This chapter provides a detailed parametric study of the air filter pleating design
using the FLUENT models descnbed in Chapter 2. The first section examines the
effects of factors that influence pressure &op and the flow pattern across a pleated
filter medium. The factors studied were: pleat geomey (pleat shape, pleat height,
pleat spacing); air velocity; and filter configuration (panel filter and cylindrical
filter). The second section presents a general correlation design curve for the design
of triangularly pleated air filters.
4.1 Anaiysis of Optimization Parameters
Cases were simulated for both panel filters (triangularly pleated and rectangular
pleated) and cylindrical filters (triangularly pleated). Approaching air velocities
were set at 0.5 m/s and 1 mk; Pleat heights investigated were 1.3 cm and 2 cm.
Dm0  4/40 filter medium properties were used for the entire analysis. Note that the
design pleat height for the ULTRAFilter is about 1.3 cm (OS"), other pleat heights
and velocities used in the analysis were chosen for convenience.
4.1.1 Effects of pleat geometry
4.1.1.1 Effect of pleat shape
Air filters are usually pleated using corrugated separators, spacer threads, or forrning
techniques [23]. Generally, pleats are either rectangular or tnanguiar. The flow field
36
The
In the
in a rectangular pleat channel is different fiom that in a triangular pleat channel, and
this difference in flow pattern may significantly influence the filter pressure drop and
particle capture eficiency.
F1o.w Pattern
Figure 4. lab show some typical flow diagrams at different pleat count for both
pleat shapes. It can be seen that with a rectangular pleat configuration, the fluid
contracts as it reaches the pleated medium. Most of the fluid enters the upstream
pleat channel while a srnall fiaction passes through the front end of the pleat directly.
The fluid entenng the upstream channel is accelerated and separates fiom the inner
surface of the pleat channel because of the reduction in the flow cross sectional area.
The intensity of fiow separation increases wirh higher pleat count. Following this,
the flow gradually spreads and as a result of fiuid viscosity, the velocity drops
steeply to nearly zero at the fluidmedium interface, i.e., there fonns a thin boundary
layer whose thickness increases with distance fiom the inlet. Since the rnass of the
fluid decreases dong the pleat channel, and pleat channel cross sectional area is
constant, the flow decelerates dong the pleat channel. Upon exiting the filter
medium, the flow then enters the downstrearn channel, and the process is repeated in
reverse. The flow acceleration, in this case, is due to the mass injection from the
fluidmedium interface. Flow recirculation can be seen at the channel exit resulting
fiom flow expansion. The intensity of flow expansion also increases with higher
pleat count.
,
triangular pleat has the maximum crosssectional area at the inlet and outlet.
upstream channel, the crosssectional area in the direction of the air flowing
Figure 4. la  Velocity vector diagrams for rectangular plats, pleat height 1.3 cm, iniet
velocity at 1 mls
Figure 4.1 b  Velocity vector diagrams for trianguiar pleats, pleat height 1.3 cm, idet
velocity at I m/s
through it decreases, resulting in nearly inviscid flow through the pleat channel.
Upon exiting the pleat, the crosssectional area increases, which minirnizes the flow
acceleration and thus the pressure drop in the downstrearn channel.
As already discussed in Chapter 1, the particle capture efficiency of the ULTRA
Filter varies significantly with the medium face velocity (the air velocity crossing the
filter medium). One concem in this study is whether the pleat shape affects the
distribution of the medium face velocity, and thus the particle capture eficiency.
Plots of medium face velocity along the pleat channel at different pleat count for the
two pleat shapes (rectangular and triangular) are shown in Figure 4.2  4.3. It can be
seen that for both types of pleats. the medium fce velocity increases along the pleat
channel. For trianguia. pleats (see Figure 4. 3, the velocity variation is relatively
smdl (within 1040% of the average value). However for rectangular pleats, the
velocity variation is 60100% of the average value for the three pleat counts
examined (see Figure 4.2). Also, the nonuniformity of velocity is seen to increase
with higher pleat count for both pleat shapes, probably due to the higher inertial
effect resulting fiom the reduction of flow channel area.
Pressure drop
The pressure drop through both types of pleat channels is caused by three
mechanisms: the entrance loss resulting fiom flow separation at the inlet and the
subsequent flow deceleration; the pressure drop dong the pleat channel resulting
from viscous drag; and the exit loss resulting from flow separation at the edge of the
exit. Clearly, fiom the velocity vector diagrams. the triangular pleat shape is more
aerodynamically favorable over the rectangular pleat shape: i t has more srnoother
0.325 0.65 0.975
distance along pleat channel (cm)
Figure 4.2  Effect of pleat shape on medium face velocity, rectangular pleats, pleat
height 1.3 cm, inlet velocity 1 d s .
8
8
(   2.7 pleatslcrn 1
8
  
3.85 pleatslcrn
I
b
I
0.325 0.65 0.975
distance along pleat channel (cm)
Figure 4.3  Effect of pleat shape on medium face velocity, triangulsr pleats, pleat length
1 3 cm, inlet velocity 1 m/s.
streamlines at the i det and outlet, so the entrance and exit losses are rninirnized; also
the flow does not accelerate in the downstream channel which fiirther reduces
pressure loss. However, note that the rectangular pleats provide a larger filter
medium area than aiangular pleats at the same pleat count, which means rectangular
pleats have lower medium face velocity and thus lower pressure drop through the
filter medium. Figure 4.4 is a cornparison of the two pleat shapes with regard to
filter pressure drop. As expected, the rectangular pleats have a lower pressure drop
than niangular pleats in the medium resistance dominated region resulting fiom
lower medium face velocity, and a higher pressure drop in the viscous dominated
region resulting from the higher viscous drag in the flow channels.
4.1.1.2 Effect of pleat height
This section examines the effect of pleat height on the optimal pleating design for
both panel filters and cylindncal filters. For rectangularly pleated panel filters (see
Figure 4 3 , with a larger pleat height, the optimal pleat count and the pressure drop
decrease whereas the pressure drop in the viscous force dominated region (i.e., the
region where the viscous drag is more important than the pressure drop through the
fiiter medium) rises more dramatically. This is because in the medium resistance
dorninated region (i.e., the region where the pressure drop through the filter medium
is more important than the viscous drag), increasing the pleat height increases the
effective filter medium area, which further reduces the medium face velocity and
thus the pressure drop. However, the viscous drag also increases due to the longer
3 4 5
pleat countlcm
Figure 4.4  Effect of pleat shape on pressure drop, pleat height 1.3 cm, iniet velocity 1 m/s
2 3 4
pleat countkm
Figure 4.5  Effect of pleat height, rectangularly pleated panel filter, inlet velocity 1 m/s.
flow channel; this resuits in a lower optimal pleat count and a higher pressure &op
in the viscous dominated region.
The effect of pleat height on the triangularly pleated panel filter is show in Figure
4.6. It can be seen that for the two pleat lengths simulated (1.3 cm and 2.0 cm),
increasing the pleat height reduces the pressure drop throughout the entire pleat
cour& and only a slight decrease of the optimal pleat count. This again indicates that
the viscous drag in a triangular pleat channel is smaller than that in a rectangular
pleat channel. So for long pleats, triangular pleats could provide a higher optimal
pleat count and a lower pressure drop than rectangular pleats.
The effect of pleat height on the cylindrical filter is shown in Figure 4.7. The trend
is similar to the tnangularly pleated panel filter.
4.1.13 Effect of variation of pleat channel spacing
Yu [19] showed that for a rectangularly pleated channel, the pressure loss in the
downstream spacing is significantly larger than that in the upstream spacing due to
the increase of momentum resulting fiom mass addition and flow acceleration. He
suspected a funher reduction of pressure drop is possible by increasing the
downstream pleat spacing and simultaneously reducing the upstream pleat spacing.
In order to test this hypothesis, simulations were performed for rectangular pleats at
4.5 pleatskm with difierent channel spacing ratio (i.e., the ratio of downstream
channel spacing to upstream channel spacing). The result is shown in Figure 4.8.
Clearly the optimal channel spacing ratio is one (when downstream channel spacing
equals the upstream spacing, in this case 0.375 mm). The reason is that although the
pleat count/cm
Figure 4.6  Effect of pleat height, triangularly pleated panel filter, inlet velocity 1 d s .
2 3 4 5
pleat count/cm
Figure 4.7  Effect of pleat height, cylindrical filter, inlet velocity 1 ds.
I I l
downs t rean Chonnet
0.125 0.25 0.3 75 0.5 0.625 0.75
downstream spacing
Figure 4. 8  Variations in nctangular pleat spacing, pleat height 2.0 cm, inlet velocity 1 m/ s
downstream channel has a higher pressure drop, any reduction of the upstream
channel spacing will increase not only the viscous drag in the upstream channel, but
also the hct i on of fluid passing directly through the front end of the pleat, resulting
in a higher pressure drop through the filter medium.
4.1.2 Effect of air velocity
The effect on pressure drop of varying approaching velocity for rectangulariy pleated
filter is shown in Figure 4.9, and for triangularly pleated filter is s hom in Figure
4.10. With a higher face velocity, the pressure drop through the filter medium and
the viscous drag in the pleat channel both increase, which increases the pressure drop
at al1 pleat count.
For a flat sheet of filter medium. the pressure drop ratio at two different
approaching air velocities is the same as the velocity ratio at low velocities, because
the inertial correction t e ms in equation (2.3) can be neglected and reduced to
Darcy's equation (equation 1.1 ). However, Chen et al. [2 1 ] pointed out that based on
their numerical results, the pressure drop ratio for a rectangularly pleated filter
medium should also be the same as the velocity ratio at low velocities (the velocity
range they investigated was fkom 0.125 m/s to 1.255 d s ) . Figure 4.1 1 compares the
prcssure drop ratio for two approaching air velocities ( 0.5 ml s and 1 d s ) with the
approaching air velocity ratio (2.0) as a function of pleat count. It cm be seen that
for both pleat shapes, the pressure drop ratios were higher than the velocity ratio
throughout the entire pleat count. This may be explained by considerinp the flow in
1 2 3 4 5
pleat countkm
Figure 4.9  Effect of approaching veiocity, rectangularly pieated filter, pleat height 2 cm.
2 3 4
pleat count/cm
Figure 4.1 O  Effect of approaching velocity, tnangularly pleated panel filter, pleat height 2 cm.
both pleat channel as intemal channel flows; there is an entrance region where the
inviscid upstrearn flow converges and enters the channel [24]. Viscous boundary
iayers grow downstream as a result of fluid viscosity. At a finite distance from the
entrance (called entrance 1engt.h) the boundary layen merge and the channel flow is
then entirely Mscous; the flow is then said to be flly developed. Downstream of this
region, the wall shear is constant, and the pressure &op is proportional to the
velocity and decreases linearly with distance in the flow direction. However, within
the entrance length, the pressure drop is significantly higher than that in the fully
developed region. This is because additional pressure forces are needed to acceferate
the centercore flow in order to maintain the incompressible continuity requirement.
For laminar flow, the entrance length Le takes the form [24]:
where d is the channel spacing, and Re is the Reynolds number which is proportional
to the flow velocity. Therefore, the entrance length increases with increasing
approaching flow velocity, resulting in a larger pressure drop ratio than the
corresponding velocity ratio. Also, the viscous drag along the pleat channels is
proportional to velocity squared.
From Figure 4.1 1, the discrepancy between the pressure drop ratio and the velocity
ratio is seen more significant for rectangular pleats; this is because the pressure
losses at the rectangular pleat channel inlet and exit are also proportional to the
velocity squared [24]. Whereas these losses are minimized for triangular pleat
channels (as discussed in section 4.1.1.1).
4.1.3 Effect of filter configuration
The effect of filter configuration (panel filter vs. cylindrical filter) on pleating design
is shown in Figure 4.12. It c m be seen that with the increase in the downstream
channel spacing (as mentioned previously, the cylindncal filter medium face velocity
is assurned uniform in this analysis, so the only difference between the pleats in
cylindrical and panel filter configuration is the downstream pleat spacing), the
pressure drop vs. pleat count curve for the panel filter configuration shifts to die
right, Le., cylindrical filter provides a higher optimal pleat count. This is expected
since the increase in downstream channel spacing M e r reduces the flow
acceleration and viscous drag in the viscous dominated region, but the reduction of
filter medium area results in a higher pressure drop in the medium resistance
dominated region.
4.2 Nondimensional Analysis
As mentioned previously, the optimal pleat count exists when the pressure drop
through the filter medium is the same as the pressure drop through the pleat channel.
If an expression cm be obtained for each of these two pressure drop in terms of pleat
count, pleat height, filter medium thickness, and filter medium characteristics, then
the ratio of these two pressure drop can be used to normalize al1 the points in the x
axis in the pressure drop vs. pleat count curve, and the Yaxis c m be normalized by
dividing the pressure drop by the minimum pressure drop. The resulting
 O O cylindrical

panel k
2 3 4 5
pleat countkm
Figure 4.12  Effect of filter configuration, triangularly pleated, pleat height 2.0 cm,
inlet velocity I d s .
dimensionless correlation c w e c m be used to assess the pressure drop performance
of a pleated air filter with different combinations of parameters @lest count, p h
height, filter medium thickness, filter medium cbaracteristics).
Chen et al. [20] obtained a design c w e for rectangdarly pleated panel filtea. For
the purpose of this snidy, we will perform dimensional analysis to obtain a
generalized correlation design c w e for triangularly pleated panel air filters. The
pressure diop through the filter medium can be approximated as:
where u, is the medium face velocity and t is the medium thickness. Note that this is
an approximation of Darcy's equation (equation 1.1). The inertial correction factor
in equation 2.3 is neglected since o d y low medium face velocity cases were
investigated in our study (in the order of 0.1 m/s or less).
The flow through the triangular plear channei can be approximated as flow through
a channel with varying crosssectional areas (see Figure 4.13). Assuming the
channel has Iength L which the pressure drop Q is imposed, allowed the width w to
Vary slowly w(x), while the channel has a characteristic width W.
w( ?O
Figure 4.13  Channel with varying crosssectional areas
The velocity scale for the x direction is assurned to be thal for flow in a straight
channel [ 25] , that is:
The transverse velocity v which is much srnaller and can be estimated h m the fiom
the continuity equation as follows:
Denoting thev velocity scale by v, , and assuming the length scale in the x and y
directions are L and W respectively, the terms can be estimated as
The vertical velocity scale is then:
Consider the ymomentum equation. From this equation we c m estimate the size of
the y pressure gradient.
The terms have the following sizes:
W
With the assumption that  is small, then the largest term above is the viscous terni
L
a 2 v w
p . Al1 the other terms of order  are negligible. Hence, by using equation
ay2 L
4.3, we have:
w
The y pressure gradient will be smaller than the x pressure gradient by a factor  ;
L
therefore, we c m take p as a function of x done.
The xmomenhun equation is considered next. The equation is:
Estimates for the size of each term are:
p u p pu, w AP + P%W + pu.,
+= 
L~ L* L L~ w 2
W
Again, assuming  is very small, the dominant terms are:
L
Therefore, with the assumption of a small wall slope. Le., srna11 pieat spacing, the
dominant pressure drop across the triangular pleat channel is due to viscous drag.
Let the approaching air velocity be u , (refer to Figure 2.3a). the characteristic
velocity in the pleat channel, uscm be estimated as:
and the characteristic medium face velocity, u,,,, c m be estimated using mas
consemation principle (see Figure 4.14):
IB = pleat spacing
L = pleat height
t = filter medium thickness
L I
Figure 4.14  Schematic for medium face velocity calculation
Using equations (4.2), (4.12). (4.13) and (4.14), the ratio of the viscous drag. Ap, to
the pressure drop through the filter medium, Ap,, is:
Since WL. equation 4.15 becomes:
K = a constant defined as the pressure drop per unit medium face velocity,
f/k. which is cornrnonly used in filtration industry [20].
E = inlet flow width = (W2t)
The pressure drop results for the triangular pieats at different pleat heights (1.3 cm,
2.0 cm and 3.6 cm) were plotted using the nondimensional parameter (equation 4.16)
as the abscissa and normalizing the total pressure drop with the minimum pressure
drop. The resulting correlation c w e is shown in Figure 4.15 together with a
logarithmic plot to show the details of low value data. This c w e can be used to
obtain the optimum combination of pleat length and pleat count for triangularly
~L*/(KYV~E)
Figure 4.15  Generalized correlation c w e for triangular pleated panel filter
pleated air filters using the DDO4/40 filter medium.
3
2.5 4,
A
2 ;
r

4 b
0
2 1.5
5
C,
d
1
0.5
3

2.5
2

w
r
a 1.5
s
s 1 
0.5
    
O 1 I 1
O 1 2 3 4
41.3 cm
2.0 cm
r 3.6 cm
O
0.001 0.1 1 O

ZL~/(I(KW'E)
5.0 Threedimensional Simulation of the
Multiple Panel Filter Configuration
5.1 Introduction
As rnentioned previously, the particle capture efficiency of the ULTRA filter varies
greatly with the filter medium face velocity. A multiple panel filter configuration
incorporating the ULTRAFilter technology has been proposed to be used in the
Kiosk Ventilation System (see Figure 5.1). This configuration is meant to minimize
the medium face velocity by fully utilizing available space inside KVS, and this
configuration has die advantage of being easy to manufacture. The space available
for the overall multiple panel filter assembly is 61 cm x 61 cm x 30 cm. Each panel
filter has a dimension of 2.54 cm x 61 cm x 30 cm. and is composed of three wire
meshes held parallel to each other and separated by a 1.3 cm space. Triangularly
pleated filter medium is secured between the second and the third meshes. The gap
spacing between each panel filter determines the number of panel filters to be used
depending on the design flowrate and the design pressure drop. Increasing the
number of panel filters reduces the medium face velocity and thus the pressure drop
through the filter medium; however, the reduction in gap spacing also increases the
pressure loss fiom flow contraction and subsequent expansion at the dead ends due to
larger flow obstruction.
panel FiI t er
\
\9( approaching
II\ veiocit y
pl eoted fil t er nediun
*i re neshes
panel f i Her crosssection
Figure 5.1  Schematic of the multiple panel filter configuration
Assuming the medium face velocity is unifonn dong the flow direction, and the
medium face velocity is uniform along the pleat channels (fiom the results in section
4.1.1.1, the variation of medium face velocity in a triangular pleat channel is small),
then the required gap spacing cm be calcdated using the mass conservation
principle. However, fiom the results presented in section 4.1.1.1 with the case of
rectangular channel flow, the medium face velocity is expected to distributed non
uniformly along the flow channel, and this flow variation, as well as the filter
pressure &op will depend on the gap spacing.
In order to optimize the geometrical design of this filter configuration so that it can
attain high capture efficiency with minimal energy cost, a simplified three
dimensional FLUENT mode1 has been developed to investigate the dependence of
the medium face velocity distribution and the filter pressure drop on the gap spacing.
5.2 Threedimensional Mode1 Description
The flow field in the multiple panel filter is syrnmetric about the center line of the
flow channel, thus the computational domain can be simplified as s h o w in Figure
5.2. This configuration, however, still imposed some difficulties in modeling: (1)
because the length of the computational cells in the =direction is limited to the order
of 0.1 mm (due to the small thichess of the filter medium) , and the length of the
computational domain in the ydirection and xdirection are on the order of 10 mm
and 100 mm respectively, there is a large scale difference between the z and y,x
directions; (2) the flow is threedimensional and large flow gradients are expected
near the dead ends which requires very fine grids to model. Hence, a large grid size
(in the order of 200,000 cells) was needed to obtain a mesh that has adequate ce11
aspects ratio (e.g. Wh) and fine enough cells near the dead ends. With our current
computing hardware, this requires tremendous man hours and CPU time in building
the mesh and simulating the problem; this would significantly increase the cost of the
project and slow down other users working in the same computing system.
In order to minimize this problem and yet undertake useful simulations of such
flows, a simplified geometry (see Figure 5.3) was employed in our model.
By
removing the first wire mesh and the associated half inch spacing, the flow gradient
near the dead ends and the length of the computational domain in the ydirection are
both reduced; this resulted in a more adoptable grid size. Note that this simplified
model would underpredict the flow recirculations near the dead ends, but the trend of
the dependence of medium face velocity distribution and filter pressure drop on the
gap spacing would be similar to that of the actual filter assembly. Nonuniform ce11
distribution was also used to minimize gnd usage such that the grids are more
densely clustered near the dead ends; the resulting gnd size was on the order of
100,000 cells. Figure 5.4 show the computational domain outline and a typical mesh
distribation. The fluid was assumed to be incompressible larninar flow, and a
uniform velocity profile was imposed at the inlet boundary. The dead ends were
modeled using FLUENT'S wall cells with the no slip boundary condition. Syrnrnetry
boundary condition was imposed on the xy and xz plane boundaries. The filter
medium was modeled using FLUENT'S porous cells with the D/DO4/40 filter
f r o c t vi ew
Figure 5.2  Computationd domain
synne f r y boundary
opproaching 
veloci t y .  ,
cr oss ssct i on
pi eat sd f i t t e r nediun
/
f r o n t view C O S S section
Figure 5.5  Simplified cornputational domain
Figure 5.4  Grid outline and typical mesh distribution
medium charactenstics. The two wire meshes were dso modeled using porous cells
but with the penneability term eliminated and used a small inertial loss factor (a
guessed vaiue) aione; the choice of the inertial loss factor vaiue would not effect the
solution since the porosity of the wire meshes is very high. The outlet section was
placed at about 3  4 gap spacing from the filter to ensure the velocity profile to
become fully developed and purely axial at the cutlet plane (due to outiet boundary
conditions).
5.3 Simulation Results and Discussions
5.3.1 Solution Procedure
Cases were simulated for gap spacing of 2 cm, 4 cm, 6 cm, and nonunifom gap
spacing with 8 cm upstream channel spacing and 4 cm downstream channel spacing,
and 4 cm upstream channel spacing with 8 cm downstream channel spacing. Inlet
flow velocity was set at 1 rnk for al1 five cases. Multigrid and small underrelaxation
factors (0.5 for velocities and 0.2 for pressure) were used to accelerate convergency
and ensure solution stabilities. Nonetheless, gradually refining the grids manually
near the dead ends was necessary to improve solution convergency. The
convergency cnterion was set such that when the total residuals (the normalized
relative changes in the variables from one iteration to the next) were of the order of
O Typically, each simulation required about 300 to 400 iterations (about 20
hours).
5.3.2 Flow Field
The main features of the flow can be seen fiom Figure 5.5, which shows the
isometric view of the velocity vectors distribution throughout the domain of the
simplified mode1 for a 6 cm gap spacing configuration. Front views and cross
section side views of the velocity vectors are aiso shown in figure 5.6. It can be seen
that a flow recirculation zone foms at a relatively large distance downstrearn of the
inlet cross section ( 1.5 gap spacing); this zone constricts the idet jet, increasing its
velocity and reducing even more the static pressure in the given zone. As a result.
very little flow passes through the filter medium in this zone and the effective length
of the panel filter is reduced. Following this. the flow gradually spreads and
decreases along the channel. Due to inertia the flow approaching the filter medium is
at angles smaller than 90' from the axis of the flow channel. These angles increase
and become close to 90' only just upstream of the dead end. Flow recirculation zone
is aiso seen near downstrearn of the outlet dead end due to flow expansion.
5.3.3 Medium Face Velocity Distribution
The medium face velocity distribution along the flow channel was examined by
plotting the velocity magnitude reported at the center of the porous cells. Face
velocity distribution for gap spacing 2 cm, 4 cm, and 6 cm are shown in Figure 5.7a
c along with the hand calculated design face velocity. It is clearly seen that the face
velocity distribution is highly nonunifom with the higher velocity near the end of
Figure 5.5  Isomeuic view of the velocity vectors in the pleat center plane
velocity vectors viewed in the xy plane
velocity vecton at different crosssection: (a) near channel inlet (b) at midchannel
section (c) near channel outlet
Figure 5.6  Velocity vectors viewed in NOdimensional planes
the flow channel, and more than half of the panel filter has higher face velocity than
the design vaiue.
It was suspected that the use of a nonuniform gap spacing configuration, such
that we increase the upstream channel spacing and simultaneously reduce the
downstream channel spacing, would reduce the inlet 80w recirculation, hence
increasing the effective filtration area and perhaps the uniformity of the face velocity
distribution. A simulation was done for a filter configuration with 8 cm upstrearn
channel spacing and 4 cm downstream channel spacing. The resulting face velocity
distribution is shown in Figure 5.7d. A cornparison with the uniform 6 cm gap
spacing face velocity distribution is shown in Figure 5.7e. It can be seen that the
nonuniform gap spacing configuration has a more uniform face velocity distribution
in the flow developing region (downstream of the channel inlet). This is because of
the smoother pressure gradient resulting fiom the reduction of flow obstruction at the
inlet. Following this, however, the face velocity of the nonuniform gap spacing
conf~guration nses more dramatically, and exceeds that of the uniform gap spacing
configuration at approximately the channel midsection. This may be explained as
the flow acceleration in the downstream channel resulted a pressure drop which
increases progressively in the flow direction; with the reduction of channel spacing
the 80w acceleration increases, and thus a higher pressure differential across the
filter medium which magnifies the nonuniformity of the face velocity distribution.
A simulation was also done for nonuniform gap spacing configuration with 4 cm
upstrearn channel spacing and 8 cm downstream channel spacing. The resulting face
Figure 5.7a  Filter medium face velocity distribution, 2 cm gap spacing configuration
Figure 5.7b  Filter medium face velocity distribution, 4 cm gap spacing configuration
6c mr pi ong Aug 05 1997
Ccll Vatucl Along EPozition = 22. KPorion = 13 Ruurr 432
Vciooty Ma ~ n i t d c (MIS) Va. 1Oircccion (M Fucnt Inc.
Figure 5 . 7 ~  Filter medium face velocity distribution, 6 cm gap spacing configuration
Figure 5.7d  Filter medium face velocity distribution, nonuniform gap spacing
configuration with 8 cm upstream channel spacing and 4 cm downstrearn
channel spacing
1DIRECTION LENCM M
84 cm spacing
Ccll Valucc Along JPosition = 28. KPosiuon = 12
Vclocity Magnitude (MIS) Vc. 1Directton Lcngth (M)
Aug 05 1 997
Fiucnr 432
nucni Inc.
.' nonuniform gap spacing
I
I.OOaEOi ZOQOEQi 3.000E4 l 4 ooOEQl s axEOl
IDIREcrION mm (hl)
6 cm spxing vs. 84 cm spacing
~ u g 05 1997
Ccll Val ua Along JPosition = 28. KParruon = 12 Ruent 4.32
Velocity Magnitude (WS) Vs. 1DinXfion Luigth ()ci) Ruai tnc.
Figure 5.7e  Filter medium face velocity distribution, cornparison between 6 cm gap
spacing configuration and nonuniforni gap spacing configuration with 8 cm
upstream channel spacing and 4 cm downstrearn channel spacing
Figure 5.7f  Filter medium face velocity distribution, nonunifom gap spacing
configuration with 4 cm upstream channel spacing and 8 cm downstrem
channel spacing
Figure 5.7g  Filter medium face velocity distribution, cornparison between 6 cm gap
spacing configuration and nonuniform gap spacing configuration with 4 cm
upstream channel spacing and 8 cm downsrearn channel spacing
velocity distribution and a cornparison with that of the uniform 6 cm spacing
configuration are s h o w in Figure 5.6fg. As expected, higher face velocity gradient
is seen in the flow developing region resulting from the reduction of channel inlet
flow are* and the face velocity becomes more uniform than that of the uniform gap
spacing configuration in the second half of the flow channel.
5.3.4 Filter Pressure Drop
Figure 5.8ae. show the normalized static pressure distribution from the inlet
boundary to the outlet boundary for the five gap spacing conf~gurations sirnulated.
The pressure was taken at a node in the center line of the upstrearn pleat spacing.
Clearly, the viscous drag dong the flow channel is relatively small. The dominant
pressure drop is comprised of two mechanisms: (1) the flow contraction and
subsequent expansion at the dead ends, and (2) the pressure drop through the filter
medium. Changing the gap spacing has a less significant effect on the second
mechanism, because the resulting change in the medium face velocity magnitude is
relatively small (for the cases investigated). Hence, reducing the gap spacing reduces
the average medium face velocity but increases the overall filter pressure drop.
Figure 5.8a  Nomalized static pressure distribution, 2 cm gap spacing configuration

4 cm rpxi ng Aug OS 1997
NoDc Valucl Along 1Position r 21. KPosition = 9 fluent 4.32
Staiic Prcssurc fPi) VI. 1Direciron Lengrh (M) Fiucnt Inc.
Figure 5.8b  Normalized static pressure disbution, 4 cm gap spacing configuration
Figure 5.8~  Normalized static pressure distribution, 6 cm gap spacing configuration
Figure 5.8d  Normalized static pressure distribution, nonuniform gap spacing
configuration with 8 cm upstream channe1 spacing and 4 cm downstream
channel spacing
Figure 5.8e  Nomalized static pressure distribution, nonuniform gap spacing
configuration with 4 cm upstream channel spacing and 8 cm downstream
channe1 spacing
6.0 Summary and Conclusions
6.1 Motivation
A ventilation equipment manufacturer, Vent Master Ltd.,Mississauga, Ont., has
developed a Kiosk Ventilation System (KVS) incorporating the UltraFilter
technology, which uses a nonionizing electric field to enhance particle capture. The
constraint on this filter technology is that the flow through the filter medium must be
kept at a low velocity to prevent particles bypassing the electric field. Due to the
complexities of filter pleating design and the space constraint with the KVS, the
Company has expenenced diff~culties in obtaining the desired filter medium face
velocity and pressure drop. In order for the filter of this invention to accomplish its
objectives, a detail pararnetnc snidy on the filter pleating and filter geometry was
necessary.
The objectives of this work c m be summarized as: first, to develop computer
models using a CFD code, FLUENT, for different pleated filter configurations, and
validate the CFD models by comparing with experimental results; second, to
examine the effect of pleat geometry (shape, height, spacing), approaching air
velocity, and filter configuration @anel filters and cylindrical filters) on the filter
pressure drop; third, to obtain a generalized correlation c w e for the design of
triangularly pleated air filters; and finally, to develop a threedimensional computer
mode1 for the proposed multiple panel filter configuration to be used in the KVS, and
investigate the dependence of the filter pressure &op and filter medium face velocity
on the gap spacing between each panel filter.
6.2 Essential Findings
63.1 Experimental Validation
Pressure drop experiments were conducted for both triangularly pleated panel filter
and cylindrical filter configurations. For the panel filter, the experimental and
simulation results agreed quite well and both demonstrated the characteristic 'U'
shape curve. In the high pleat count region, however, the experimentai pressure drop
nse more dramatically mainly due to pleat bunching. The thickness and the
flexibility of the filter medium are therefore important factors in pleat optimization.
For the cylindncai filter. pressure drop measurements were performed for one pleat
count only. The experimental results were higher than the simulation results
throughout the entire velocity range; this is because the additional pressure drop
(flow contraction and expansion at the inlet of the filter) were not accounted for in
the cornputer model.
6.2.2 Pleating Analysis
Simulations were performed for both rectangular pleats and triangular pleats.
Velocity vector diagrams showed that the floa field inside a triangular pleat channel
is different fiom that in a rectangular pleat channel, with the triangular pleat being
the more aerodynarnic shape; it has a minimum of al1 three pressure drop
mechanisms across the pleat channels (entrance loss, viscous drag along the pleat
channel, and the exit loss). These resulted in a more uniform medium face velocity
distribution along the pleat channels than that of the rectangular pleat channels.
However, keep in mind that the rectangular pleats have a larger medium area than
triangular pleats, and thus have a lower average medium face velocity and pressure
drop through the filter medium.
For rectangular pleats, the optimal pleat count and pressure drop decreased with
increasing pleat height, whereas in the viscous force dominated region, the pressure
drop rises more ripidly. This is because in the medium resistance dominated region,
incrcasing the pleat height icreases the effective filter medium area, which M e r
reduces the medium face velocity and thus the pressure &op; however, in the viscous
force dominated region, the viscous drag also increases due to the longer flow
channel. For triangular pleats, increasing the pleat height reduced the pressure drop
throughout the entire pleat count, and with only a slight decrease of the optimal pleat
count. Therefore, for long pleats, triangular pleats could provide a higher optimal
pleat count and a lower pressure drop.
Increasing the rectangular pleat downstream channel spacing and simultaneously
decreasing the upstream chuinel spacing resulted in a higher filter pressure drop; the
optimal ratio of the downstream channel spacing to the upstrearn channel spacing
was found to be one.
With a higher velocity, the pressure drop through the filter medium and the viscous
drag in the
pleat count.
pleat channel both increased, which increased the pressure drop at ail
For both rectangular and triangular pleats, the pressure drop ratio at two
different approaching velocities was higher than the corresponding approaching air
velocity ratio. This is because the channel entrance length (where the pressure drop
is significantly higher than in the 80w developed region) increases with higher
velocity, also, the viscous drag dong the channel is proportional to the velocity
squared. The discrepancy between the pressure drop ratio and the air velocity ratio
was seen more significant for rectangular pleats. This is because the pressure losses
at the rectangular pleat channel inlet and exit are also proportional to the velocity
squared; whereas these losses are minnized for triangular pleat channels.
Increasing the downstream channel spacing of the triangular pleats, Le., for a
cylindrical filter configuration, the pressure drop vs. pleat count c w e shified to the
nght; the optimal pleat count was increased. This is because the larger pleat
downstream channel spacing M e r reduced the flow acceleration and viscous drag
in the viscous force dorninated region, but the reduction of the ratio of filter medium
surface to volume caused the pressure drop to increase in the medium resistance
dominated region.
By scaling the inertia and visco& stress terms in the rnomentum equations, an
expression was obtained for the pressure drop through the triangular plezt charnel;
the pressure drop through the filter medium wa approximated using Darcy's
equation. The ratio of these two pressure drop was used as a nondimensional
parameter. The pressure drop results of the three cases simulated for the triangularly
pleated filter (with pleat heights of 1.3 cm, 2.0 cm and 3.6 cm) were repiotted
together using the nondimensional parameter as abscissa in the xaxis, and
normalizing the total pressure drop with the minimum pressure drop. The resulting
correlation cme can be used for the design of triangularly pleated air filten.
6.23 Multiple Panel Filter Configuration
A simplified threedimensional mode1 was developed for the proposed multiple panel
filter configuration to be used in the KVS. The simulation results showed that flow
recirculation regions formed downstream of the dead ends due to flow expansion; the
size of the flow recirculation region decreased with increasing gap spacing. For al1
cases investigated, the medium face velocity distribution dong the flow channel was
highly nonunifonn with the higher velocities near the end of the channel, and more
than half of the panel filter had a higher velocity than the design value. This was
attributed to inertia effect.
The overall filter pressure drop decreased with increasing gap spacing. This is
because the relative change in the medium face velocity magnitude with gap spacing
was small in the cases we investigated, and thus changing the gap spacing had a
more significant effect on the pressure drop resulting from flow contraction and
subsequent expansion at the dead ends than on the pressure &op through the filter
medium.
For both nonuniform gap spacing configurations investigated (8 cm inlet spacing
with 4 cm outlet spacing, 4 cm inlet spacing with 8 cm outlet spacing), the resulting
medium face velocity distribution was not significantly different from that of the
corresponding 6 cm uniform gap spacing configuration; the overall filter pressure
drop was higher for the nonuniform gap spacing configurations.
85
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