One of the factors influencing the efficiency of modern electrostatic precipitators is the proper cleaning of dust collecting plates, which is usually done by a periodic rapping. The rapping blow excites the plates, which in turn dislodge the accumulated dust layer. The paper analyzes the response of a deposited dust layer to an arbitrary out-of-plane motion of the plate to which it is held by the action of molecular and electrostatic adhesive forces. A simplified one-dimensional model of the precipitated dust-layer is assumed to have viscoelastic properties of the Kelvin solid. The results indicate that—in addition to the acceleration level—the frequency of excitation as well as the adhesive-force arrangement are decisive in defining how and when the dust layer will break off the plate.

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