What I understand about electrostatic precipitators is that the particles become ionized due to corona discharge and thus are attracted to the oppositely charge plate. This would work as long as the precipitator is turned on and plates maintain a charge.

However afterwards, when the precipitator is turned off, wouldn't the collected particulate matter tend to regain their charge neutrality? What if it goes back to its original state? Wouldn't the whole action of the precipitator then become moot?

How is the precipitated pollutant stored and prevented from escaping in an electrostatic precipitator?

  • $\begingroup$ Could you provide some background for your question? I can figure out from your question what an electrostatic precipitator likely is, but I am not familiar with them and there is not enough context in your question for me to know HOW they are used. What application is this for? That would likely influence the answer. Also, I am not certain the electrochemistry tag is appropriate, since electrochemistry is more about using redox reactions in 1) analytical situations and 2) electrolysis. This application seems more about electrostatic attraction and not redox chemistry $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    Mar 27, 2016 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ An an electrostatic precipitator does need to be cleaned periodically. Typically you turn off the electricity, remove the filters, and either blow them out or wash them out somehow. youtube.com/watch?v=Y-CXjdMx8HM $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Mar 27, 2016 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ @BenNorris it's an air filtration device. You can find more about it on wikipedia - Electrostatic Precipitator. I don't think it involves chemical redox reactions. Though it does involve ionization of particles. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2016 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxW do they stay on the filters because of electrostatic attraction (particles are negatively charged, plate is positively charged) or do they regain charge neutrality and settle on that filter? $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2016 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ When the filter is charged the stuff in the air is electrostatically attracted. When the charge is turned off the gunk is mechanically stuck on the filter till it is cleaned off. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:39


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