Comparison of electrostatic fine powder coating and coarse powder coating by numerical simulations

U. Shah, C. Zhang, J. Zhu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Powder coating has several key advantages over liquid coating, and fine powder coating makes the surface finish quality comparable with liquid coating. This work reports on the numerical simulation of a fine powder-coating process in comparison with coarse powder coating, using a commercial computational fluid dynamic code, Fluent v6.1. The purpose of the study is to understand the gas and particle flow fields inside the coating booth for various operating conditions and the effect of reducing particle size on the coating process. The air and powder particle flows in a coating booth were modeled as a three-dimensional turbulent continuous gas flow with solid particles as a discrete phase. The continuous gas flow was calculated by solving the Navier-Stokes equations, including the standard k-ε turbulence model with non-equilibrium wall function. The discrete phase was modeled based on the Lagrangian approach. In addition to drag force and gravity, the electrostatic force including the effect of space charge due to free ions was considered in the equation of motion and implemented using user-defined scalars and user-defined functions. The governing equations were solved using a second-order upwind scheme. This study demonstrates that the use of finer particles of size 15 μm or lower can give a very smooth and uniform surface finish, which may serve the requirement of automotive top-clear coating. This also provides useful information about optimum operating conditions such as the airflow rate, the applied external voltage and the powder-spray rate. The numerical model can also be used to optimize the gun-booth design for a better coating efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Electrostatics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CFD
  • Electrostatics
  • Numerical simulation
  • Powder coating
  • Powder transfer efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biotechnology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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