Electrostatic Precipitators

By: Kate Lowrey


An electrostatic precipitator is a type of cleaner that removes unwanted particles, such as smoke or dust, and liquid from a flow of gas. They use the laws of electrostatics to work; like charges repel, and unlike charges attract (Ron Kurtus)


In 1907, Frederick Cottrell made the first appliance used by industries that used electrostatics. He was a chemistry professor who wanted to remove sulfuric acid, smoke, and ash from the smokestacks in factories. (Blake et al.)


An electrostatic precipitator is a device used to remove liquid droplets or solid particles from gas in which they are suspended (Ron Kurtus).

Electrostatic Precipitators work based on two main factors; Like charges repel and unlike charges attract (Ron Kurtus). To remove unwanted particles from the air, they consist of a power supply, an ionizing source, a dust removal method, and an external enclosure (Electrostatic Precipitators, ThomasNet.com)

They are built with a vertical tube that contains an insulated wire. Dust particles and liquid droplets in a polluted gas become positively charged when they come into contact with the wire, which is positively charged. The positively charged particles collide with the collection plates, and they are neutralized and collected in large containers called hoppers (Ron Kurtus)

The two main inlets are one to allow the entrance of polluted air, and one that facilitates the exit of the clean air stream at the end of cleaning. The efficiency of air purifiers depends on the size of the collection plate, how much power is being produced in the electric field, and the airflow rate (Electrostatic, Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers)

Electrostatic Precipitator System Working.avi


The benefits of an electrostatic precipitator are...

-It reduces the amount of air pollution caused by factories.

-It helps reduce the amount of dust and toxins in our homes.

-It makes us healthier.

-It helps the earth.


- Blake, Leesa. ON Science 9. N.p.: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2009. Print.

-"Electrostatic." Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers. Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.modernalchemyair.com/technology/electrostatic/>.

-"Electrostatic Precipitators." ThomasNet.com. Thomas Publishing Company, 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.thomasnet.com/articles/plant-facility-equipment/electrostatic-precipitators>.

-Frederick Cottrell. Digital image. Historia De Interlingua. Union Mundial Pro Interlingua, 29 Dec. 2006. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.interlingua.com/historia/biographias/cottrell.htm>.

- How electrostatic precipitators work. Digital image. Bitesize. BBC, 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_aqa_pre_2011/electricity/staticelectrev2.shtml>.

-Kurtus, Ron. "Uses for Static Electricity." School For Champions. School For Champions, 11 Oct. 2007. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/static_uses.htm>.

-"Uses of Electrostatics." Bitesize. BBC, 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_gateway_pre_2011/radiation/electrostaticsusesrev1.shtml>.

-Electrostatic Precipitator System Working.avi. YouTube. YouTube, 01 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0tDieiia_c>

-Mill, George. "Electrostatic Precipitator." Access Science. McGraw-Hill Education, 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.accessscience.com/content.aspx?searchStr=Electrostatic+precipitator&id=227000>.