This paper is the first systematic study of the pneumatic conveying of nanoparticles. The minimum pickup velocity, Upu, of six nanoparticle species of different materials [i.e., silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), and titanium dioxide (TiO2)] and surfaces (i.e., apolar and polar) was determined by the weight loss method. Results show that (1) due to relative lack of hydrogen bonding, apolar nanoparticles had higher mass loss values at the same velocities, mass loss curves with accentuated S-shaped profiles, and lower Upu values, (2) among the three species, SiO2, which has the lowest Hamaker coefficient, exhibited the greatest discrepancy between apolar and polar surfaces with respect to both mass loss curves and Upu values, (3) Umf,polar/Umf,apolar was between 1 and 3.5 times that of Upu,polar/Upu,apolar due to greater extents of hydrogen bonding associated with Umf, (4) Upu values were at least an order-of-magnitude lower than that expected from the well-acknowledged Upu correlation (Kalman et al., Powder Technol 160:103–113, 2005) due to agglomeration, (5) although nanoparticles should be categorized as Zone III (Kalman et al. 2005) (or Geldart group C, Powder Technol 7:285–292, 1973), the nanoparticles, and primary and complex agglomerates agreed more with the Zone I (or Geldart group B) correlation.
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The authors thank the financial support from the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) Program (M4098010). We also acknowledge funding support from Singapore’s Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (M4011437).
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