What’s a rotary dryer?

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Rotary dryers use rotation, gravity, and hot gases to dry materials. They range from small home dryers to large industrial systems. The drum rotates and moves the material while hot gases dry it. Different gases are used, and there are two types of heating methods: direct and indirect. The most common type is the indirect heat rotary dryer, which is used for drying clothes.

A rotary dryer is a device that uses rotation, gravity and hot gases to dry a material. These dryers range from small dryers for the home to large industrial systems. Regardless of their size, most tumble dryers work the same way. A drum rotates and moves the material while hot gases rapidly dry it. The main distinction in these dryers is the type of gas used and the method used to generate heat. As a result of the enormous kinetic energy they create, tumble dryers of all but the smallest sizes require fixed support systems such as concrete columns or floor bolts.

Regardless of its size and purpose, the inner workings of a tumble dryer are basically the same as any other. The main user component is the drum where the work material is placed. The inside of the drum contains many large fins that help lift and agitate the working material as the dryer spins. This drum is connected to the dryer’s internal workings, but these are hidden from the outside. A door covers the drum opening so that the compartment can be sealed off.

As the rotary dryer spins, vanes lift the working material from the bottom of the drum and lift it up the side. As the flap approaches the top of the drum, gravity causes the lifted material to fall back down. When the working material falls, it is sprayed with hot gas. This gas is very effective in drying the material as it is completely open on all sides.

There are different gases used in tumble dryers. In home dryers, most of the gas is simply hot air. Almost any gas can be used in commercial or industrial dryers, but the most common are exhaust gases and various inert gases. In these dryers, the primary concern is possible contamination of the work material and the maximum heat of the gas used.

The one common difference in a tumble dryer is the method used to heat and distribute the air in the drum. A direct heated dryer uses the flue gases generated by the heater mixed with an artificially heated gas. This second gas is almost always ordinary air, but can be any inert gas. These systems are used only when the heater exhaust cannot contaminate the work material.

The second system is called an indirect heat rotary dryer. In this case the heater heats a second gas which enters the drum while any combustion gases remain separate. This form of dryer is the most likely to be encountered by the average person, as it is the type commonly used for drying clothes.

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