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Home / Blog / Wet Scrubber Particulate Removal: Operation, Configurations, and Efficiency

Wet Scrubber Particulate Removal: Operation, Configurations, and Efficiency

Author: Michael Klepik, Chief Executive Officer
Scrubbers are an environmentally friendly and safe method for air purification, making them widely used in medical facilities, the food industry, chemical plants, as well as in enterprises involved in metal processing and construction materials.

Wet scrubber removes particulate matter of various sizes and compositions, including fine particles like PM2.5 and larger particles such as dust and smoke, contributing to cleaner air emissions and improved environmental quality.

Principle of Operation

The units capture dust through diffusion and electrostatic forces generated by the turbulence of the medium to be cleaned. The medium for cleaning enters through an inlet tube located at the bottom of the scrubber. It passes through the inlet pipe and then, under pressure, moves up through the body. Next, the flow encounters spray tiers, where, through water spraying or the use of chemical reagents, the cleaning process occurs. Here, impurities settle, and additionally, the medium is cooled.

After cleaning and cooling, the gas-air flow is discharged through the top pipe into the atmosphere or redirected back into the technological unit.

Sludge accumulates in the hopper (settling tank). It is either disposed of or reused in the production cycle. The scrubber for cleaning can be constructed vertically or horizontally. The system is designed to save working space. The volume of the chamber also varies. The purification efficiency of the installations reaches 99%.
Tornado ST | Spray Tower Scrubber

Optimal Scrubber Configurations

Wet scrubbers come in various designs, tailored to the composition of the polluted gas they need to treat. Packed bed scrubbers are commonly used for lightly polluted substances that contain more gaseous impurities than coarse particulate matter. Hollow scrubbers and venturi scrubbers are ideal for capturing medium to large dust particles, requiring only brief contact with water droplets. The wet scrubber removal efficiency of bubbling plate scrubbers is particularly high when it comes to eliminating contaminants with chemical impurities, such as acids, alkalis, and solutions.

What Particles Does a Wet Scrubber Remove?

A wet scrubber can remove a variety of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants from industrial exhaust streams. The types of particles and pollutants it can effectively capture include:
Particulate Matter (PM)
  • Coarse Particles (PM10): Particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers or larger.
  • Fine Particles (PM2.5): Particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller. These are particularly important to capture due to their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause health problems.
  • Ultrafine Particles: Particles with a diameter smaller than 0.1 micrometers (100 nanometers). Wet scrubbers can be effective in capturing these very small particles depending on the scrubbing liquid and design.
The wet scrubber particulate removal system effectively captures and eliminates 99.9% of airborne particles from industrial exhaust streams.

Types of Particulate Matter

  • Dust: Solid particulates generated from industrial processes such as grinding, crushing, and material handling.
  • Smoke: Fine particles resulting from combustion processes, including carbon soot from incomplete combustion.
  • Mists: Liquid droplets formed from condensation of vapors or atomization of liquids, such as oil mists or acid mists.
  • Fumes: Very fine solid particles formed by the condensation of vapors, often from metals like zinc or lead.
Acidic Substances
  • Inorganic Acids: HCl (hydrochloric), HF (hydrofluoric), H₂SO₄ (sulfuric), HNO₃ (nitric), H₃PO₄ (phosphoric), etc.
  • Acidic Oxides: SO₂ (sulfur dioxide), NO₂ (nitrogen dioxide), SO₃, CrO₃, etc.
  • Organic Acids: HCOOH (formic), CH₃COOH (acetic), etc.
  • Hydrogen Cyanide: HCN
  • Halogens: Cl₂ (chlorine), Br₂ (bromine)
Ordinary Substances
  • Amines: (tri-, di-, mono-) methylamines, (tri-, di-, mono-) ethylamines, etc.
  • Soluble Salts: BaCl₂ (barium chloride), NaCl (sodium chloride), NaNO₂ (sodium nitrite), KNO₃ (potassium nitrate), and other water-soluble salts
  • Alcohols: methanol, ethanol, dimethyl, etc.
  • Alkalis: NaOH (sodium hydroxide or caustic soda), KOH (potassium hydroxide), etc.
  • Ethers: ethyl acetate, methyl acetate, dimethyl ether, diethyl ether, etc.
  • Phenols
  • Ammonia: NH₃
Other Substances
  • Various Compounds: aldehydes, mercaptans, ozone, odors, and malodorous substances
  • Hydrogen Sulfide: H₂S
  • Formaldehyde: CH₂O

Efficiency Factors

The wet scrubber particulate removal efficiency is a critical factor in ensuring that industrial emissions meet environmental standards and minimize air pollution.

The efficiency of particle removal by a wet scrubber depends on several factors, including:
  • Scrubber Design: Types such as venturi scrubbers are more effective for fine particles due to the high turbulence they create.
  • Liquid-to-Gas Ratio: Higher liquid flow rates can improve particle capture efficiency.
  • Particle Properties: Size, density, and reactivity of the particles affect how easily they are captured.
  • Gas Velocity: Higher velocities can increase turbulence and contact between particles and liquid, improving capture efficiency.
Our company specializes in the selection and manufacturing of scrubbers made from carbon steel, plastic, or advanced grades of stainless steel. Additionally, we provide comprehensive design services to ensure that all your specific requirements are effectively met.

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Vladimir Nikulin
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