Electrostatic Precipitators

How it works

General Information

Electrostatic precipitators are the machines in your home or the big, cubed metal machines attached to big factories which clean the air around it. Electrostatic precipitators are used to help refine and clean the polluted air surrounding us. The air around us is filled with bacteria, fumes, toxic substances, and harmful odours. When that air is left unclean it may cause many effects to a person. The efficiency of the electrostatic precipitators eliminates the harmful substances in the air by 99%. This is how the process begins. The contaminated air enters the electrostatic precipitators, with the help of motors. Now that the air is in the electrostatic precipitator, it first passes through a primary filter which attracts larger dust particles and any solid matter. Then the air moves on to a highly charged negative wire which will charge all the polluted particles in the air a negative charge. The air then moves on to rods which are always the opposite charge of the wire. In this case, the rods will be positive because the wire was negative. Since the charged air was negative, the polluted particles in the air will stick onto the rods, because opposite charges attract according to the electrostatics law. These particles stay on these rods until they are cleaned. These rods have to be regularly washed because if too many of the toxic particles stick onto its surface, the attraction will not be as great because there is less of the rod exposed for the particles to attract to. Then the air moves to a final filter to filter out any other unwanted particles before releasing the air back into the atmosphere. There are 2 ways of cleaning electrostatic precipitators; wet and dry.
Electrostatic Precipitator System Working.avi

Wet Electrostatic Precipitators

Wet electrostatic percipitators have the do many of the same functions a normal electrostatic precipitator does but uses water during the process. During the stage when the unwanted particles stick to the oppositely charged rod, water will spray off the unwanted particles which will go into large collection hoppers at the bottom.(Electrostatic Precipitator, Wet)

Dry Electrostatic Precipitators

Dry electrostatic precipitators can be also used to clean the unwanted particles from the rods. When there are enough unwanted particles are on the rods, the plates get rapped, making these unwanted particles fall. The particles are collected into hoppers at the bottom of the precipitator.(Electrostatic Precipitator, Dry)

Pros and Cons


  • Eliminate most of the unclean air around (99% efficient)
  • Collected particles can be used for other processing


  • Produces Ozone which can be a lung irritant and an asthma trigger
  • Constantly have to wash the collection rods if the electrostatic precipitators aren't wet or dry
  • Clogging can happen when the rods aren't cleaned
  • Needs a lot of space

(Electrostatic Precipitators)


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Picture: http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/images/static_uses_precipitator.gif (February 13, 2013)

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