Triboelectrification of granular insulating materials as affected by dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) treatment

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The aim of this paper is to point out the influence of dielectric barrier discharge treatment on tribocharging of granular insulating materials. Particles of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polypropylene (PP) were subjected to an AC dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma treatment in ambient airprior to tribocharging in a vibratory device. The charge to mass ratio was measured for treated and untreated materials. Electrostatic separation of a mixture of granular materials (PVC and PP) to measure the effectiveness of DBD treatment was evaluated by processing treated and untreated PVC/PP granular mixtures in a free-fall electrostatic separator. The obtained results clearly indicate that DBD has the capability to influence surface charging proprieties of polymer granular materials. In case of short treatment time, typically less than 3 s, a marked increase in the charge to mass ratios was observed for both PVC (about 35%) and PP (roughly 45%). In the same way, the quantity of DBD-treated materials, recovered after electrostatic separation, was increased by about 104% and 30% for PVC and PP, respectively, as compared to untreated case. The DBD treatment time is a key factor to increase the tribo electric effect.