University of Illinois researchers have found a new way to clean the air inside a hog building using an aerodynamic system that creates a cyclone effect.

The idea of creating a cyclone isn't new, but previous efforts weren't very efficient, explains Yuanhui Zhang, associate professor of agricultural engineering. He invented a “uniflow deduster” that cleans 90% of the dust from the air, 50% of the ammonia and 30% of the odor.

Typically, cyclone activity can't throw out small particles. However, the uniflow deduster separates small particles from the air because of its aerodynamic design, says Zhang. His design reduces turbulence inside the cyclone, enabling the deduster to work with very small particles (3 microns), at a large airflow rate.

The deduster works by using a fan to draw air through a duct. The tube is lined with vanes designed to create a cyclone effect. The swirling motion pushes particles to the walls of the duct where they become attached to water misted into the chamber. Once a day, the particles are automatically flushed away.