Modern “high tech” lubricant oils have been developed to contain a high level of dispersant additive to the base oil. As contaminant loading has increased, designers are required to address the problem of controlling the contamination found in the oil. One method is the use of bypass centrifugal sedimentation. This paper describes a computational study of the basic flow characteristics in a centrifugal sedimenting rotor using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package STAR-CD. Simplified CFD models have indicated regions of flow which would be difficult to demonstrate by experimental methods alone. For example, backflow from the outlet channel is found to cause a disruptive secondary flow in some models, but this flow is contained by the inclusion of a more realistic geometry. Two–phase flow computations have also been carried out to investigate the behaviour of spherical particulates of different sizes. Flow and geometry factors affecting the centrifuge performance are discussed.

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