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BMH Recent Dev

BMH Recent Dev

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Prof A W Roberts Director

Institute for Bulk Materials Handling Research University of Newcastle


A. W. Roberts.

Director, School of Engineering, Director TUNRA Ltd,

The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia


This paper presents an overview of some recent developments in the technology of bulk: solids handling. An overview of storage system design including bins and gravity reclaim stockpiles is presented and aspects of feeder performance is given. The importance of wall or boundary friction in hopper and chute design is discussed and the associated adhesion and wear characteristics are outlined in relation to the selection of appropriate lining materials. Problems due to flow instabilities during discharge from coal bins are reviewed; these flow pulsations may give rise to severe dynamic loads on the bin structure. Future directions for bulk solids handling research and development are indicated.


Throughout the world bulk: materials handling operations perform a key function in a great number and variety of industries. While the nature of the handling tasks and scale of operation vary from one industry to another and, on the international scene, from one country to another according to the industrial and economic base, the relative costs of storing, handling and transporting bulk materials are, in the majority of cases, very significant. It is important, therefore, that handling systems be designed and operated with a view to achieving maximum efficiency and reliability. Directly related to these objectives is the ongoing need for engineers and those involved in the operation of handling plants to be kept informed of the latest research and technological developments relevant to their industry and, at the same time, contributing to these developments and to the dissemination of information in the light of their own experiences.

The theme embodied in the foregoing remarks is of particular relevance to Australia in view of the heavy dependence on bulk handling operations. While these operations range across the broad spectrum of industries. of prime importance are the mining and mineral processing industries which handle coal and mineral ores in large tonnages. These industries make a major contribution to Australia's export earnings and economic growth.

Over the past three decades much progress has been made in the theory and practice of bulk solids handling. Reliable test procedures for determining the strength and flow properties of bulk solids have been developed and analytical methods have been established to aid the design of bulk solids storage and discharge equipment. There has been wide acceptance by industry of these tests and design procedures and, as a result, there are numerous examples throughout the world of modern industrial bulk solids handling installations which reflect the technological developments that have taken place.

Notwithstanding the current situation, the level of sophistication required by industry demands, in many cases, a better understanding of the behaviour of bulk solids and the associated performance criteria for handling plant design. Experience indicates that the


solution of one problem, which leads to an improvement in plant performance, often exposes other problems which need to be solved. It becomes progressively clearer that there are many gaps in the present state of knowledge where further research is necessary.

The purpose of this paper is to briefly highlight the present state of knowledge associated with bulk handling and indicate where further work is necessary. The material presented is based largely on the research conducted in Australia.


2. 1 General Remarks

The procedures for the design of handling plant, such as storage bins, gravity reclaim stockpiles. feeders and chutes are well established and follow the four basic steps:

(i) Determination of the strength and flow properties of the bulk solids for the worst likely flow conditions expected to occur in practice.

(ii) Determination of the bin, stockpile, feeder or chute geometry to give the desired capacity, to provide a flow pattern with acceptable characteristics and to ensure that discharge is reliable and predictable

(iii) Estimation of the loadings on the bin and hopper walls and on the feeders and chutes under operating conditions.

(iv) Design and detailing of the handling plant including the structure and equipment.

The general theory pertaining to gravity flow of bulk solids and associated design procedures are fully documented [1-4], For the purpose of the present discussion, the salient aspects of the general philosophy are briefly reviewed.

2.2 Modes of Flow in Bins of Symmetrical Geometry.

Following the definition by Jenike [1,2] the two principal modes of flow are mass-flow and funnel-flow. These are illustrated in Figure 1.

In mass-flow, the bulk solid is in motion at every point within the bin whenever material is drawn from the outlet. There is flow of bulk solid along the walls of the cylinder (the upper parallel section of the bin) and the hopper (the lower tapered section of the bin), Mass-flow guarantees complete discharge of the bin contents at predictable flow rates. It is a 'first-in, first-out' flow pattern; when properly designed, a mass-flow bin can re-mix the bulk solid during discharge should the solid become segregated upon filling of the bin. Mass-flow requires steep, smooth hopper surfaces and no abrupt transitions or in-flowing vaUeys.

Mass-flow bins are classified according to the hopper shape and associated flow pattern. The two main hopper types are conical hoppers which operate with axi-symmetric flow and wedged-shaped or chisel-shaped hoppers in which plane-flow occurs. In plane-flow

bins. the hopper half-angle a will usually be, on average, approximately 80 to 100 larger than the corresponding value for axi-symmetric bins with conical hoppers. Therefore, they offer larger storage capacity for the same head room than the axi-symmetric bin, but this advantage is somewhat offset by the long slotted opening which can give rise to feeding problems. The transition hopper, which has plane-flow sides and conical ends, offers a more acceptable opening slot length. Pyramid shaped hoppers. while simple to manufacture. are undesirable in view of build-up of material that is likely to occur in the sharp corners or in-flowing valleys. This may be overcome by fitting triangular-shaped gusset plates in the Valleys.


I""_O ""1

Flow Along Walls

Total Capacity Live

Central Channel

(a) Mass-Flow

(b) Funnel-Flow

Figure 1 Modes of Flow

Funnel-flow occurs when the hopper is not steeply sloped and the walls of the hopper are not smooth enough. In this case, the bulk solid sloughs off the top surface and falls through the vertical flow channel that forms above the opening. Flow is generally erratic and gives rise to segregation problems. Flow will continue until the level of the bulk solid in the bin drops an amount HD equal to the draw-down. At this level, the bulk strength of the contained material is sufficient to sustain a stable rathole of diameter Dr as illustrated in Figure 1 (b). Once the level defined by HD is reached, there is no further flow and the material below this level represents 'dead' storage. This is a major disadvantage of funnelflow. For complete discharge, the bin opening needs to be at least equal to the critical rathole dimension determined at the bottom of the bin corresponding to the bulk strength at this level. However, for many cohesive bulk solids and for the normal consolidation heads occurring in practice, ratholes measuring several metres are often determined, This makes funnel-flow impracticable. Funnel-flow has the advantage of providing wear protection of the bin walls, since the material flows against stationary material. However it is a 'first-in last-out' flow pattern which is unsatisfactory for bulk solids that degrade with time. It is also unsatisfactory for fine bulk solids of low permeability. Such materials may aerate during discharge through the flow channel and this can give rise to flooding problems or uncontrolled discharge.

The disadvantages of funnel-flow are overcome by the use of expanded-flow, as illustrated in Figure 2. This combines the wall protection of funnel-flow with the reliable discharge of mass-flow. Expanded-flow is ideal where large tonnages of bulk solid are to be stored. For complete discharge, the dimension at the transition of the funnel-flow and mass-flow sections must be at least equal to the critical rathole dimension at that level. Expanded-flow bins are particularly suitable for storing large quantities of bulk solids while maintaining acceptable head heights. The concept of expanded-flow may be used to advantage in the case of bins or bunkers with multiple outlets.

Generally speaking, symmetric bin shapes provide the best performance. Asymmetric shapes often lead to segregation problems with free flowing materials of different particle sizes and makes the prediction of wall loads very much more difficult.


Funnel Flow

Figure 2 Expanded Flow

2.:3 Mass-Flow and Funnel-Flow Limits for Symmetrical Bins

(a) Established Theory due to lenike

The mass-flow and funnel-flow limits have been defined by lenike on the assumption that a radial stress field exists in the hopper [1,2]. These limits are well known and have been used extensively and successfully in bin design. The limits for axi-symmetric or conical

hoppers and hoppers of plane-symmetry depend on the hopper half-angle a, the effective angle of internal friction 0 and the wall friction angle $. Once the wall friction angle and effective angle of internal friction have been determined by laboratory tests, the hopper half-angle may be determined. In functional form,

ex = f ($,0)


The bounds for conical and plane-flow hoppers are plotted for three values of 0 in Figure 3. In the case of conical or axi-symmetric hoppers, it is recommended that the half-angle be chosen to be 30 less than the limiting value. For plane-flow, the bounds between mass and funnel-flow are much less critical than for conical hoppers. In plane-flow hoppers, much larger hopper half angles are possible which means that the discharging bulk solid will undergo a significant change in direction as it moves from the cylinder to the hopper. For plane-flow, the design limit may be selected; if the transition of the hopper and cylinder is sufficiently radiused so that the possibility for material to build-up by adhesion

is significantly reduced, then a half-angle 30 to 40 larger than the limit may be chosen.

(b) Modification to Mass-How Limits - More Recent Research

Since in the work of lenike, flow in a hopper is based on the radial stress field theory, no account is taken of the influence of the surcharge head due to the cylinder on the flow pattern developed, panicularly in the region of the transition. It is been known for some time that complete mass-flow in a hopper is influenced by the cylinder surcharge head. For instance, there is a minimum level Her which is required to enforce mass-flow in the hopper [5]. For the mass-flow bin of Figure lea), this height ranges from approximately 0.75 D to 1.0 D.

More recent research has shown that the mass-flow and funnel-flow limits require further explanation and refinement. For instance, Jenike [6] published a new theory to improve the prediction of funnel-flow; this led to new limits for funnel-flow which give rise to


larger values of the hopper half-angle than previously predicted, particularly for high values of the wall friction angle. In the earlier theory, the boundary between mass-flow and funnel-flow was based on the condition that the stresses along the centre line of the hopper became zero. In the revised theory the flow boundary is based on the condition that the velocity becomes zero at the wall.

- 60
- 50
-J 40
Z 30
u 20
-J 10
): 0
Figure 3 PLANE-fLOW = 60°

s = 50°

S = 40°


CONICAL 6 = 60° S = 50° 6 = 40°

10 2D 3) 4) S) ED 70


Limits for Mass-flow for Conical and Plane-Flow Channels

In a comprehensive study of flow in silos, Benink (7] has identified three flow regimes; mass-flow, funnel-flow and an intermediate flow as illustrated in Figure 4. Whereas the radial stress theory ignores the surcharge head, Benink has shown that the surcharge head has a significant influence on the flow pattern generated. He derived a fundamental relationship for Her in terms of the various bulk solid and hopper geometrical parameters;

notably the HID ratio of the cylinder and the effective angle of internal friction O. Benink developed a new theory, namely the 'arc theory', to quantify the boundaries for the three flow regimes. This theory predicts the critical height Her at which the the flow changes.




Limit depends on HID end S


Figure 4 Flow Regimes for Plane-Flow Hopper defined by Benink [7]


2.4 Hopper Opening and Flow Rate R Coarse Bulk Solid

Coarse bulk solids are those in which the particle size range is such that the air permeability is sufficiently high to allow air to percolate through the stored solid with a minimum of resistance. Consider the accelerated flow of a bulk solid in the region of the

outlet of the hopper shown in Figure 5; in this case the air pressure gradient ilpr = O. Analysing the forces, it may be shown that

0'1 = pgB [l-~J

H(a.). g


where p =
0'1 =
a =
B =
B(a) = Bulk density

Stress acting in arch at angle 450 Acceleration of discharging bulk solid Hopper opening

Factor to account for variation in arch thickness T, hopper half-angle a. and hopper type, whether conical or plane-flow.

(6) Flow cnennel

(11 (b) Determining Hopper Geometry

Figure 5 Flow in a Hopper

The minimum hopper opening to just prevent a cohesive arch from forming occurs when static equilibrium prevails; that is, the acceleration a = O.

From (2) with a = 0,



= crt HCa.) pg



The hopper half-angle is chosen from the mass-flow limits (Figure 3), while the condition for crl = O'c (Figure 5 (b)) is obtained from the intersection point of the Flow Factor ff line and Flow Function FF. The Flow Function is a bulk solid parameter and represents bulk strength while the Flow Factor is a flow channel parameter. The Flow Function is a plot

of the unconfined yield strength ac as a function of the major consolidation pressure ai. The Flow Factor and function H(a;) are given as design curves in Refs. [2-4].

Following the work of Johanson [8J, it may be shown that the acceleration in equation (5) may be expressed as


a = g [ 1 - if ] (4)


where ff =
ffa =
ff = _1
where 0'1 = Critical Flow Factor based on the minimum arching dimension Actual Flow Factor based on the actual opening dimension


Major consolidation pressure at outlet corresponding to dimension B

The acceleration has two components:

a =:Ie + av



ac = Convergence component due to flow channel

ay :::: Component due to velocity increase as flow is initiated

It may be shown that

ff 2 i (m + 1)

a, = g ( 1 if ) - B tan a;



This shows that as the discharge velocity increases, ay -7 0. Thus, an average terminal discharge velocity Va is reached. With ay = 0,

V = a

__ B...;;.,g __ [ 1 _ :: ]

2 ( m + 1 ) tan a; a


and the flowrate is



m = ° for plane-flow hopper

m = 1 for axi-symmetric or conical hopper

B :::: Width of slot or diameter of circular opening

L = Length of slot.

For design purposes, it is common to plot Band Qo as functions of a; as illustrated in Figure 6. In this way. various options of hopper geometry can be explored.



o Bmin


Figure 6 a and Qo versus Hopper Opening B

In the majority of cases, the flowrate determined above for unimpeded discharge will be well in excess of the plant requirements. For this reason feeders are used to control the

discharge rate to the required value. It may be noted that the increase in half-angle a with increase in B follows from the decrease in wall friction with increase in wall pressure that accompanies the increase in B.

2.5 Hopper Opening and Flow Rate - Fine Bulk Solids

For fine powders discharge from a hopper will be impeded by the low permeability of the powder to air flow; that is D.pr;t O. Flow rates very much lower than those computed using the method outlined in Section 2.4 above will occur. The analysis is much more complex and involves two-phase flow theory. The flow of fine powders has been studied by McLean [3,9], and more recently by Arnold and Gu [10.11]. Larger hopper openings are required than for the equivalent coarse bulk solids and sometimes air permeation is required to bias the pore pressure in the hopper in order to assist the discharge. Fine powders are prone to flooding and uncontrollable discharge if allowed to aerate so that extreme care must be exercised in designing and installing any air permeation system. Care must also be exercised in ensuring that the interface between the hopper and feeder are correctly designed to prevent problems due to flooding.

2.6 Velocity Distribution in Hopper

The velocity distribution in a converging channel has been studied in some detail by Johanson [12]. A practical application of this earlier work of Johanson was presented in a more recent paper by Johanson and Royal [13], who were interested in calculating the sliding velocity at a hopper wall in relation to the wear of hopper linings. This concept has also been followed up by Roberts et al [14-16] who have also examined hopper wall wear, as well as wear in chutes.

The average velocity along the converging hopper (Figure 5) is computed from the flow rate as follows:




Mass flow rate at section Cross-sectional area.


The velocity profile in the hopper is as depicted in Figure 5. The velocity of sliding at the wall is

Vs = K, Yav


The parameter K, for conical and plane-flow hoppers may be obtained from Refs. [12, 13].

By way of example, for a plane-flow bin, with a wall friction angle of 20· and a corresponding mass-flow angle of 35" (Figure 3), vofvs = 9.4. The corresponding value of Kv = 0.54. The wall friction angle of 20· would apply, for example, for coal on stainless steel type 304 with 2B finish. If structural steel plate is used, the wall friction angle is more likely to be 30'; on this basis, the hopper half-angle for mass-flow in a

plane-flow hopper is, from Figure 3, a; = 22'. The corresponding value of Kv = 0.54 which is also the same as the previous case for the stainless steel lining.

It is to be noted that velocity ratio vofvs and Ko have a direct bearing on the blending or mixing characteristics of hoppers [3,17].

2.7 Factors Influencing Bin Geometry for Mass-Flow

Undisturbed storage time and changes in moisture content can significantly influence the unconfined yield strength of the bulk solids. By way of illustration, the critical hopper opening dimension B for three Hunter Valley coals plotted as a function of moisture content are shown in Figure 7. This figure shows three coal samples, Sample (1) being a Raw Open Cut Coal, Sample (2) a washed version of (1) and Sample (3), a blend of (2). The high strength of the raw, unwashed coal is clearly evident. Experience has shown that the peak bulk strength of coal may occur at a moisture content somewhere between 70% and 90% of the saturation limit.

<.!:> .......
Z E 1.0
z .......
w U
Q.(l) 0.8
z 0.6
-z 0.4
a: 0.2
0 III Sample (1) • Sample (2) a Sample (3)

End Points = Saturation M.C.

10 20



Figure 7 Critical Opening Dimension BCR as a Function of Moisture Content for Three Coal Samples - Stainless Stee1304-2B Lining



3. 1 General Remarks

Problems due to flow blockages such as arching and rathoIing in bins may be cured by flow promotion. Flow promotion may be classified as


active involving energy.

Passive devices for flow promotion do not require energy. Typical flow promotion devices of this type involve the use of inserts such as the inverted cone insert [18] and the cone-in-cone insert or Binsert™ [19]. Essentially. these inserts allow a funnel-flow bin to operate under mass-flow. In particular, the Binsert is very effective and has the added advantage of providing good mixing or blending performance provided the bin geometry and insert are correctly selected.

Active flow promotion devices depend on energy to drive them. They may take the form of mechanical dischargers such as screws or devices, such as vibrators or air blasters, that impart energy to the bulk solid causing a reduction in bulk strength.

3.2 Flow Promotion by Mechanical Vibrations

The application of mechanical vibrations to promote the gravity flow of bulk solids has been studied by Roberts et al [20-22]. A dynamic shear test apparatus was developed; this apparatus permits the shear strength to be determined in the presence of vibrations which may be applied over a range of amplitudes and frequencies.

(a) Influence of Vibrations on Strength and Flow Properties

The strength of bulk solids is measured in terms of the unconfined yield strength O'c which is related to the major consolidation pressure 0'1 by the yield locus and Mohr diagram as illustrated in Figure 8 (a). This figure shows two yield loci. an unvibrated yield locus for

which the unconfined yield strength O'e corresponds to the major consolidation pressure 0'1. For the same consolidation conditions the application of vibrations during shear leads to the vibrated yield locus and the unconfined yield strength O'ef. The unconfined yield strengths O'e and O'ef give one point on the respective Flow Functions shown in Figure 8 (b). A family of yield loci, for at least three consolidation conditions, need to be obtained for the complete Flow Functions of Figure 8 (b) to be determined,

(b) Failure Criterion

It has been shown that the dynamic shear strength decays exponentially with increase in vibration velocity in accordance with the relation.

[ 2nXf]

'tf = 'tco 'tj'tCo + (l-'tJ'tfo)exp {- U r }


where f = frequency (Hz) and T"" and U are constants which, for a given bulk solid, depend on the consolidation and applied normal pressure during shear. The decay in shear strength is illustrated in Figure 9.



£t -t--------~f~-·...,---


L- --~---~

Figure 8 Yield loci and flow functions

1.1 ~-------~------~------------------------~

0.8 "1-----_+_ 0' = 2.98 kPa 0' = 4.23 kPa 0" = 5.47 kPa


'trO 0.9

2ft Xrf






Figure 9 Shear stress attenuation as a function of relative velocity on shear plane - 1 mm Pyrophyllite; 5% M.e. (d.b.)

a = 7.9 kPa; x, ~ 0.01 mm

The constant U in equation (12) is the bulk solid vibration velocity constant. The .experimental evidence to date suggests that U is independent of the consolidation pressure and applied normal pressure. By way of example, U = 7 mm/s for pyrophyllite and U = 10 mm/s for iron ore.

Knowing the value of U for the particular bulk solid, the values of the relative amplitude X, and frequency f for maximum shear strength may be estimated from


Xrf> 0.8 U


In equation (14), f is in Hz, Xr is in mm and U is in mrn/s. Experience has shown that best results are achieved by using higher frequencies, at least 100 Hz and lower amplitudes.

It should be noted that the decay in shear strength with vibration velocity as described above is similar to the decay in shear strength with voidage on the shear plane. This implies that the vibration velocity (or energy) is directly related to the void age.

(c) Dynamic Wall or Boundary Friction

Reliable gravity flow in bins and chutes depends, to a very significant extent, on the magnitude of the friction angle between the flowing bulk solid and the wall of the hopper or chute. In hopper design in particular, the wall friction angle has a major influence on the flow pattern developed, whether mass-flow or funnel-flow. It is now well known that vibrations applied to the wall of a hopper can reduce wall friction to a marked extent. Dynamic wall shear tests may be readily performed using the dynamic shear cell apparatus; a typical set of results are shown in Figure 10.

- Frequency
n.. o Hz
C/) 2 120 Hz
Cf) 150 Hz
ui 200 Hz
0: 1
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
NORMAL PRESSURE (kPa) Figure 10 Vibrated wall yield loci for Pyrophyllite on mild steel plate Xr ~ 0.1 mm; M.e. = 5% (d.b.)

(d) Effect of Vibration on Bin Geometry and Performance

The influence of mechanical vibrations may induce flow by

Improving the mass-flow performance of an existing mass-flow bin by reducing the wall friction angle and critical arching dimension.

Improving the funnel-flow performance of an existing funnel-flow bin by reducing the critical rathole dimension.

By lowering both the bulk strength and wall friction angle, convert an existing funnel-flow bin to mass-flow.

By way of illustration, the influence of vibrations in improving the flow characteristics may be seen by reference to the example shown in Table 1, which presents the hopper

half-angle a, (that is, the angle of slope of the hopper wall with respect to the vertical) and the minimum hopper opening dimension B for mass-flow in a conical hopper.

Table 1: Conical Mass-Flow Hopper Geometry


Hopper Geometry

Unvibrated Condition

Vibrated Condition

f = 200 Hz Xr= 0.1 mm

Half Angle ex (Deg.)

..._ I B I _ Opening Size B

~ I""'l- (mm)



900 .

The data presented in Table 1 clearly show the significant increase in the hopper half-angle a, and the reduction in the opening dimension that is possible when vibrations are applied. The results highlight the usefulness of mechanical vibrations as an aid to flow.

(e) Vibration Energy Transfer

Effective flow promotion depends on the ability of the store bulk mass to transmit vibration energy from the source or point of vibration excitation through the mass to the region of the flow blockage. In the case of storage bin, it is usual to install the vibrator on the hopper wall; this provides an immediate benefit through the reduction in wall friction that may result. Furthermore, if the flow blockage is in the form of an arch, then vibration applied to the hopper wall at or near the outlet may cause the arch to fail and flow to occur. In this case, the vibration energy does not need to be transmitted to any great distance. On the other hand, where funnel-flow prevails and a stable rat hole has formed, then the vibration energy needs to be transmitted through the bulk mass.

The dynamic shear test described in Refs. [20-21], together with the theory of failure, provides information on the frequency and amplitude and hence, energy level to be applied, at the zone of the flow blockage. It then becomes necessary to determine the level of vibration energy to be applied by the flow promotion device at its location point.

The subject of wave motion in bulk granular solids is of interest to several areas of engineering. In particular, the study of seismic effects on soils and ground sub-surface structures is covered, in the fields of soil mechanics and geomechanics. Furthermore, the analysis of stress waves in elastic media is dealt with in reference books and research publications in general subject area or theoretical and applied mechanics. Yet, despite this, wave motion in bulk solids storage bin systems has so far received little attention.

As discussed in Ref. [22], the analyses of stress waves in bulk solids is a very complex three-dimensional problem. It involves the consideration of the body waves such as the compression or P-wave and the distortion, shear or S-wave. In addition, consideration needs to be given to the boundary or surface waves. The analysis is made even more complex owing to the



(i) uncertainty of the boundary conditions

(ii) non-homogenuity of the stored bulk solids resulting from wide variations in particle size, variations in consolidation conditions and variations in moisture content.

(iii) uncertainty of the damping effects within the stored bulk solid.

The underlying principles of vibration energy transfer in relation to flow promotion may be gleaned by considering the simplified, one-dimensional model illustrated in Figure 11.

Plane of Maximum

Exc i t e tf en

(a) Vibration Transmission


U -£!! dx ax


O'+oa dx ..... - Uo (t) ax

1-4--------.]-------1 ....

(b) One Dimensional Vibration Hodel

Figure 11 Concept of surfaces of peak dilation

Assuming that internal damping is present and that this damping may be represented as equivalent viscous damping, the longitudinal vibrations of the rod are governed by the damped wave equation.

a2u a2u

(j,2 _ = __ +

ax2 at2

p au at


where (j, = ~ (rn/s) (15)
= Velocity of wave propagation in rod.
E = Elastic modulus of bulk solid (N/m2)
u = Deformation of rod at location x (m)
p = Bulk density (kg/rri')
f3 = Damping factor (s+) 15

The natural frequency is given by f = n a Hz

n 41


n = 1,3,5 ....

The wave velocity depends on the consolidation and loading conditions. By way of example, for a value of a = 300 mis, the natural frequencies are fn = 75/1, 225/1, 375/1 •. ,. (Hz) for n = 1,3,5 .... respectively.

For best results, the higher modes of vibration should be used in flow promotion. The objective here is to create multiple (tensile) planes of failure as illustrated in Figure 12. Research to date has indicated that excitation frequencies in the order of 100 Hz or higher are necessary. There may be a trade-off in the selection of excitation frequency; the higher the frequency, the higher the mode of vibration of the bulk mass is created and hence the greater the number of failure zones; on the other hand the vibration energy transmitted may have a higher attenuation at the higher excitation frequencies.




(a) stati c Case

Tensi on I nduces Fail ure

(b) Dynami c Case

Figure 12 Model to illustrate formation of failure zones

3.3 Use of Air Blasters for Flow Promotion

Air cannons or air blasters are commonly used to promote gravity flow in bins and stockpiles. In a recent paper on this subject, Terziovski and Arnold [23] indicate that, currently, the sizing and placing of air blasters are carried out using techniques based on experience and guesswork. Based on research into the use of air blasters, they provide a procedure for the correct selection of these devices for efficient performance using the measured flow properties of the bulk solid and the bin geometrical details. In general, air blasters ate used in a retro-fit situation to correct an inadequate design where flow blockages occur. However, in a new design where there is some uncertainty in the variations in bulk strength of a bulk solid for the full range of operating conditions, it is a good practice to make provision in the design for future installation of air blasters should it be found necessary to do so.



In bin design, the prediction of bin wall loads continues to be a" subject of some considerable complexity. In view of its obvious importance it is a subject that has, in recent years, attracted a good deal of research effort. Currently, there are several research groups in various countries of the world directing their attention to the study of bin wall loads using a range of analytical and numerical techniques such as those involving finite element analysis. These contributions to bin load research are providing a new insight into this important area of bin design. A brief selection of papers on this subject is given in Refs. [24-26].

Despite the widely varying approaches to the analysis of bin wall loads, it is clear that the loads are directly related to the flow pattern developed in the bin. The flow pattern which a mass-flow bin exhibits is reasonably easy to predict and is reproducible. However, in funnel-flow bins the flow pattern is more difficult to ascertain, especially if the bin has multiple outlet points, the loading of the bin is not central and/or the bulk solid is prone to segregation. Unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise, bin shapes should be kept simple and symmetric.

4.1 Wall Pressures in Mass-Flow Bins

In mass-flow bins, the pressures acting normal to bin walls vary from the static or filling conditions to the dynamic or flow conditions. The pressure distributions are well defined and, using current theories [3-4], may be predicted with confidence.

It is to be noted that in the flow situation, a high switch stress occurs at the transition. The magnitude of this switch stress is several times the corresponding static value. Further, it may also be noted that the wall pressures acting in the cylindrical section during flow may be higher than the static values. For a perfectly parallel cylinder, the wall pressures during flow would be the same as the static values. However, when imperfections such as weld projections or plate shrinkage give rise to flow convergencies, peak stresses occur. The stresses are taken into account by computing the locus of all such possible peak pressures.

4.2 WaH Pressures in Funnel Flow Bins

While for design purposes wall pressures in symmetrical funnel-flow bins may be determined with a high degree of confidence, the wall loadings in bins with multiple outlets and eccentric discharge points are far more difficult to estimate. Under eccentric discharge, the walls are subject to bending moments and hence. bending stresses in addition to hoop stresses [27J.

4.3 Use of Anti-Dynamic Tubes to Control Silo Wall Pressures.

In tall grain silos. the effective transition occurs low down the silo walls; as a result, massflow of grain with flow along the walls occurs over a substantial height of the silo above the effective transition. The effect is to cause dynamic pressures to be generated, these pressures being in the order of two to three times the static pressures generated after the silo is filled from the empty condition.

As shown by Reimbert (from Ref.[5]), it is possible, by the use of an anti-dynamic tube, to control the flow pattern so that funnel-flow always occurs without flow along the walls. In this way, the wall pressures never exceed the static values. Reirnbert's anti-dynamic tube. placed centrally in a symmetrical silo, extends almost the whole height and has a series of holes or pons to allow grain to enter the tube at various levels.

A variation of the Reimbert tube is the tremmie tube which has no holes in the walls and extends slightly less than half the height of the silo. Research using this type of anti-


dynamic tube was conducted at the University of Newcastle, Australia [28, 29]. Figure 13 shows, schematically, the 1.2 m diameter by 3.5 m tall model flat bottom test silo and a sample set of test results.


Model Silo

AntiDynamic Tube


Mean Static Pressure

Mean Flow Pressure (Tube Filled)

Mean Flow Pressure (No Tube)

Pressure +

lowest Observed Effective Transition e =450

Figure 13 Anti-Dynamic Tube to Control Pressures in Tall Grain Silos.

The work was initiated in order to provide a simple and low cost solution to controlling the pressures in a number of badly cracked concrete grain silos approximately ten times the scale. In effect, the tremmie tube divides the tall funnel-flow silo into two squat silos in series. The top half of the silo discharges first followed by the bottom part once the level drops below the top of the tremmie tube and the tube empties. Ports in the bottom of the tube allow grain to flow laterally to the silo outlet.

The design of the bottom ports and tube sizing in relation to the silo outlet dimension are important in order to promote automatic choking of the lateral flow at the bottom until the tube empties. No valves are necessary. The arrangement ensures that at no time does the effective transition intersect the walls of the silo and hence the pressures never exceed the values corresponding to the static or initial filling condition. This is illustrated in the test results of Figure 13.

The anti-dynamic tube described above has been successfully used to control the flow in silos having eccentric and multiple discharge points. Without the tube in place, the walls of such silos are subject to significant bending stresses in addition to the hoop stresses.

It is to be noted that the anti-dynamic tube described here is suitable only for free flowing, cohesion less bulk solids such as grain. They should not be used for cohesive bulk solids.

4.4 Australian Standard for Loads in Bulk Solid Containers

In recent years there has been considerable activity in several countries of the world in the development of new or revised codes for bin wall loads. Of particular note is the new


Australian Standard "AS-3774-1990 Loads for Bulk Solids Containers" [30], which represents a major milestone. This publication presents a very comprehensive review of the loads acting in bin and silo walls under a the full range of operating conditions likely to occur in practice. As an example, Figure 14 shows the wall loadings determined on the basis of this new Standard for a large coal bin having seven outlets; the pressure profiles correspond to one possible mode of discharge involving the operation one eccentric outlet only.

Figure 14 Circumferential Pressure Variation due to Operation of One Eccentric Outlet


5.1 Use of Feeders to Control Discharge

In general, a feeder is a device used to control the flow of bulk solids from a bin. While there are several types of feeders commonly used, it is essential that they be selected to suit the particular bulk solid and the range of feed rates required. It is particularly important that the hopper and feeder be designed as an integral unit so as to ensure that the flow from the hopper is fully developed with uniform draw of material from the entire hopper outlet. For example, in the case of a screw feeder, this is achieved by using selected combinations of variable pitch, variable diameter and variable core or shaft diameter.


In the case of a belt or apron feeder, a tapered opening is required as illustrated in Figure 15. The use of vertical triangular plates in the hopper bottom are an effective way to achieve the required taper. The gate on the front of the feeder is used only for flow trimming and not for controlling the flow rate. The height of the gate is adjusted to give

the required release angle 'V to achieve uniform draw along the slot. Once correctly adjusted, the gate is then fixed in position and the feed rate is controlled by varying the speed of the feeder.

Plon View of ouu et

Figure 15 Belt and Apron Feeder

In the case of vibratory feeders, there is a tendency for feed to occur preferentially from the front. To overcome this problem, it is recommended that the slope angle of the front face of the hopper be increased by 5° to 8° as illustrated in Figure 16. Alternatively, the lining surface of the front face in the region of the outlet may selected so as to have a higher friction angle than the other faces.

Figure 16 Vibratory Feeder 5.2 Determination of Feeder Loads and Power

The determination of feeder loads and drive powers requires a knowledge of the stress fields generated in the hopper during the initial filling condition and during discharge. Under filling conditions, a peaked stress field is generated throughout the entire bin as illustrated in Figure 17. Once flow is initiated, an arched stress field is generated in the hopper and a much greater proportion of the bin load is supported by the hopper walls. Consequently, the load acting on the feeder substantially reduces as shown in Figure 17.


It is quite common for the load acting on the feeder under flow conditions to be in the order of 20% of the initial load. The arched stress field is quite stable and is maintained even if the flow is stopped. This means that once flow is initiated and then the feeder is stopped while the bin is srill full, the arched stress field is retained and the load on the feeder remains at the reduced value. The subject of feeder loads is discussed in some detail in Refs.[31-34].



Peeked Stress-~·:::lo Field


Feeder load

Arched Stress Field


L..- ~ Time

Figure 17. Load Variations on a Feeder The load Q on feeder is given by

Q = q 'Y L (l-m) B (2+m)


where q = non-dimensional surcharge factor
'Y = pg = bulk specific weight
p = bulk density
L = length of slotted opening
B = width of slot or diameter of circular opening
m = symmetry factor = o for plane-flow hopper
= 1 for conical hopper. Equations for q are given in the references cited. Design charts are also available such as those illustrated in Figure 18.


RA TlO DIS .. 5.0

0- lD
QU: 8
:;:E-<E 6
2~ 4:
10 ConicelHopper-Muluplyqi byO.785 PIIITle-Flov- qi!.3 plotted

-0-- H¢/D" 0.5
--- HolD· 1.0
-- HolD" 1.5
--- HolD .. 2.0
-- HolD" 2.5
-0-- H<:/D" 3.0 20 3D 40 50 60


(a) Initial Surcharge Factor PLANE-FLOW HOPPER - DELTA = SO Deg.

1.8 ~--q------------------,

Phi" 5 d~ Phi" 10 d+q Phi" 15 d'9 Phi" 25 d~ Phi = 20 d~ Ph! = 30 dt9

0.6 +--~-~-~-r--~--.-~---r-~--j







(b) Flow Surcharge Factor

Figure 18 Sample non-dimensional load factors B = Hopper Opening; D = Bin Dia. or Width;

He = Surcharge Head on Hopper; Phi = Wall Friction Angle

5.3 Controlling Feeder Loads

The loads on feeders and the torque during start-up may controlled by ensuring that an arched stress field fully or partially exists in the hopper just prior to starting. This may be achieved by such procedures as:

Cushioning in the hopper, that is leaving a quantity of material in the hopper as buffer storage.

Starting the feeder under the empty hopper before filling commences.

Raising the feeder up against the hopper bottom during filling and then lowering the feeder to the operating condition prior to starting. In this way an arched stress field may be partially established.


5.4 Use of Inserts to Control Loads in Feeders

Inserts may be used to modify the flow pattern at hopper and feeder interfaces with a view to reducing the load on the feeder and the corresponding power requirements. This concept was employed by Roberts et a1 [35] in the case of an apron feeder. The study was initiated as a result of an industrial project involving a large apron feeder for coal handling. Model studies were performed in the TUNRA laboratories of the University of Newcastle, Australia. The investigation involved the use of both longitudinal and transverse, triangular-shaped inserts as illustrated in Figures 19. While the longitudinal insert produced some load control, it was not as effective as the transverse insen. Also there are practical difficulties in using longitudinal inserts which limit their application.

Transverse Insert

(a) Longitudinal Triangular Shaped Insert

(b) Transverse Triangular Shaped Insert

Figure 19 Use of an Insert in a Feeder to Control Load




~ 15 w


a 10 ex:


0~----~----~----r-----r-----4 o

50 100 150 200



Figure 20 Effect of Insert Height Location on Drive Torque.

Transverse Insert, Centre-Line Location

The position of the transverse insert was varied and the loads on the feeder recorded. By way of example. the reduction in drive torque achieved through the use of the insert is


shown in Figure 20. As would be expected, the reduction is more pronounced for the initial filling or start-up torque since the load is influenced by the surcharge head in the hopper. This is not the case for the flow load and running torque. The advantages of using an insert to control the initial loads is clearly demonstrated.

5.5 Special Feeders for Run-of-Mine (R.O.M.) Ores

The majority of feeders handle crushed bulk solid of controlled particle size. These feeders are of the shear gate type, that is, the feed hopper has a front wall with a gate to control the feed aperture opening. In this way a shear plane is developed in the hopper at the hopper/feeder interface. The feeders shown in Figures 15 and 16 are of the shear gate type.

In mining operations, dump hoppers and feeders are required to receive R.O.M. ore and feed the ore to the primary crushers. The R.O.M. ore is often of large size range with lumps or rocks up to or exceeding 1 metre effective diameter. In order to avoid jamming and mechanical bridging, it is not possible to use shear-gate feeders. Rather open-front reciprocating plate feeders or open-front, inclined apron feeders are used. The performance of these types of feeders is currently under active investigation by Roberts and Ooms [36, 37J.

By way of example, Figure 21 illustrates an inclined, open-front apron feeder. Filling of the dump hopper is from the rear. There is no well defined shear plane; rather the feeding action involves the total mass moving against the resistance of the hopper walls. As a result of internal relative movement between lumps and particles at different levels above the apron surface, the bulk solid at the top of the mass contained in the hopper moves back to fill the void at the rear of the hopper.

Filling from Rear

Shear Planes

Figure 21 Open-Front Apron Feeder

5.6 Transfer Chutes

Transfer chutes are used for directing the flow bulk solids, and despite their apparent simplicity, the flow is quite complex and not always fully appreciated. Often chutes and stand-pipes are badly designed becoming the 'weak link' in the 'handling chain' due to wear and blockages produced by material adhesion. The adhesion of bulk solids to chute


surfaces and chute wear are discussed in Refs. [14-16]. The mechanics of flow in chutes, based on the model depicted in Figure 22 is discussed. in Refs. [38-41]. Significant segregation in chute flow will occur, particularly in the case of deep beds. where a pronounced velocity profile is developed.


Figure 22 Chute Flow Model


6.1 Draw-Down Performance Considerations

Gravity reclaim stockpiles have been discussed in Refs. [42, 43]. When properly designed, they operate under expanded-flow, as illustrated in Figure 23. This shows discharge through a single opening in a stockpile. Discharge will take place by funnelflow in the main body of the stockpile, with the flow expanded through the mass-flow hopper. In this way, reliable flow to the feeder is assured. Flow will continue until the draw-down head hn is reached; flow then ceases as a stable pipe or rathole is formed. The draw-down is consistent with critical rathole dimension Dr which forms at that level. The shape of the rathole depends on the consolidation conditions within the stockpile, the particle or lump size range of the stored bulk solid and the moisture content.

Complete Drllw- Down

hf Of

Effective Heed Rethole Dfe.

Figure 23 Draw-Down in Stockpile


Complete draw-down, as illustrated in Figure 23, corresponds to the critical rathole dimension Drm at the base of the stockpile. For complete draw-down to occur, it is necessary for the diagonal dimension of the hopper transition to be at least equal to Drm. Since values of Dfm may be several metres, often it is not practical or economical to employ a large enough hopper to achieve complete draw-down. For this reason, the design of stockpile reclaim hopper and feeder systems requires a full consideration of the various options available with a view to optimizing the reclaim performance within specified practical and economic limits.

6.2 Use of Multiple Hoppers

The use of multiple hopper systems which allows for intersection of the flow channels to occur, as illustrated in Figure 24, provides for good reclaim performance to be achieved. By varying the separation distance X, an optimum spacing can be established as illustrated in Figure 25.

6.3 Live Capacity versus Moisture Content

In a programme of research conducted at the University of Newcastle [42-43], studies have been performed using a conical stockpile model which allowed different feeder configurations to be examined. Although the scale of the model relative to actual stockpiles is very small (a factor of 1/50 in one case of an iron are stockpile). the predicted performance base on the model studies were surprisingly good. The modelling process involves scaling the particle size and adjusting the moisture content of the bulk solid to reproduce, as close as possible, the same arching characteristics in the model feed hoppers as would occur in the full scale stockpile.

Hopper Transition:

Length Lh -----:i1~ Width 0


Reclaim Hoppers and Feeders

Figure 24 Improved Reclaim Performance using Double Reclaim System



Figure 25 Live Capacity versus Feeder Separation


By way of illustration, Figure 26 shows the reclaim performance for a double hopper system for five different coal moisture contents. Several tests were. conducted over a range of hopper separation lengths. The separation of the hopper is measured by the distance S between the inner edges of the two hoppers which are equidistant on each side of the stockpile centreline. The data in Figure 26 show the reduction in live capacity with increase in moisture. This is to be expected because the strength of the bulk solid increases with moisture content. The results also show that there is an optimal separation length for the two-hopper system where maximum reclaim of material can be expected. This optimal distance being dependent on the moisture content of the bulk material.


I: < ...J


LJ.I 30 Or:::

LJ.I r.o oCt

r- 20 z






-0-- 18.8~ M.C. 17.8~ M.C.

II 15.3%M.C.

10.35% M.C.



200 300



Figure 26 Double Hopper Stockpile Live Capacity for Model Stockpile using Coal.

Hopper length at transition = 120mm, width = lOOmm

6.4 Loads on Reclaim Hoppers and Feeders

The loads on reclaim hoppers and feeders and the corresponding power to drive the feeders varies from the "initial" to the "flow" condition as discussed in Section 5. The loads are illustrated in Figure 27.


Hydro,tatic Head

Surcharge Q Head ~ s

I nitlel
Of flo .....
hr Figure 27 Feeder Loads


The initial load will correspond to the case when the stockpile or crater above the feeder is filled. The surcharge load Qs will depend on the consolidation condition of the bulk solid in the stockpile. The worst case corresponds to the hydrostatic pressure. However, if a rathoIe has been pre-formed, then the surcharge load will be reduced. When an arched or flow stressed field has been formed within the mass-flow reclaim hopper, the load on the feeder will be greatly reduced. Confirmation of the load conditions acting on reclaim hoppers has been obtained from the model stockpile tests.


7. 1 General Remarks

Of the various parameters affecting the performance of hoppers, feeders and chutes, friction at the boundary surface has, in most cases, the major influence. The subject of wall friction and the related properties of adhesion, cohesion and wear has been discussed in several papers [14-16, 44J. It has been shown that friction depends on the interaction between the relevant properties of the bulk solid and lining surface, with external factors such as loading condition and environmental parameters such as temperature and moisture having a significant influence.

Given the properties of the bulk solid, the judicious choice of lining material to achieve low friction and wear is a matter of considerable importance. Factors to be considered in the selection of lining materials include:

Surface friction and adhesion Resistance to impact, if appropriate Method of attachment

Installation cost and maintenance.

Resistance to abrasive wear Resistance to corrosion Initial cost

It is recommended that appropriate tests be conducted to determine the relevant flow properties of the bulk solid and the proposed lining surface.

7.2 Wall Friction, Adhesion and Cohesion

Wall friction, adhesion and cohesion are derived from the wall or surface yield locus W. Y.L. in accordance with Figure 28.

't Well or Boundery Surface

YIeld Locus

0'0 Tanston ~

Compression ..

Figure 28 Wall or Surface Yield Locus (WYL)

The wall friction angle 4> is defined as follows:

-1 ['t ]

41 = tan -

. Ow




't = CIW ;::;:

Shear stress at wall

Corresponding normal stress or pressure

As indicated by Figure 28, the friction angle <!> between the bulk solid and boundary surface decreases as the normal pressure increases. This effect is illustrated in Figure 29.

WaH Friction Angle

~----------------------~ crw

Norrnel Pressure

Figure 29 Characteristic surface or wall friction variation with normal friction

7.3 Measurement of 'Wall Friction

Direct shear tests to determine the Wall Yield Loci (WYL) are illustrated in Figure 30. Usually the WYL is obtained using the Jenike type shear cell illustrated in Figure 30(a) [2,3]. While the test provides the relevant information for hopper design under the range of normal pressures encountered, limitations occur in the inability of the test to obtain the zero and negative normal pressures required to determine the cohesion and adhesion. The cohesion may be estimated by extrapolating the Wall Yield Locus to obtain an intersection with the shear stress axis.

More sophisticated shear testers, which have been designed and manufactured at The University of Newcastle, permit zero and negative (tensile) normal pressures to be applied. The principle of these testers is shown in Figure 30(b). One tester is based on a 'standard' cell diameter of 95 mm, [45], while the second tester has a cell diameter of 310 mm in order to permit bulk solid samples of wide particle size range to be accommodated [46]. In both these test apparatus, the shear cell is located beneath the sample of the wall or boundary material as illustrated in Figure 30. The measurement of cohesion and adhesion is important in chute and standpipe design and in the determination of carry back of bulk solids on conveyor belts [47].

The use of the standard, Jenike type shear tests for the determination of the W.Y.L. can lead to conservative values of the measured friction angles. While this may be satisfactory for determining bin and hopper geometries, it can lead to problems due to variations in bin flow patterns. A new type of friction/abrasive wear tester developed jointly at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and The University of Newcastle in Australia and described in Ref. [16] permit friction values to be measured which resemble more closely the friction values experienced under operating conditions. This machine, which is illustrated in Figure 31, allows the rubbing velocity as well as normal pressure to be varied to match those expected to occur in practice. The key to the operation of this machine is the establishment of an appropriate bed depth of bulk solid beneath the wear test sample. This is achieved by means of the wedge of material generated at the leading edge of the test sample as shown in Figure 31 (b). This concept is similar to the principle embodied in the Michell tilting pad hydro-dynamic bearing [48,49].



Woll lining (a) Jenike Direct Shear Test

Wall lining Material


(b) Inverted Shear Cell Test

Figure 30 Shear Test Arrangements for Wall Friction

Bulk Solid re-cycled via Bucket Elevator

Test sample

(a) Wear Tester



(b) 'Wedge' of Grain

Figure 31 Linear action friction / Wear Tester


By way of example, Figure 32 shows comparative tests conducted using the Jenike Shear Tester and the Linear Friction/Wear Tester to determine the Wall Yield Loci for Bauxite in contact with Bisalloy 500. The Linear Friction/Wear Tester measured a lower Wall Yield Locus than the Jenike Tester, with differences in friction angle of approximately 3·. In general, the Linear Friction/Wear Tester permits more accurate measurement of the kinetic friction occurring during flow in hoppers and chutes.

As discussed in Ref. [50], the measurement of normal and shear stresses in silo walls using load cells permits the determination of the wall friction angle under operating conditions. For example, friction angles determined for wheat on polished mild steel using the Jenike direct shear cell gave a value of 18°, whereas, in tests conducted on a pilot scale silo fitted with load cells gave values ranging from 12· to 14°. While further work is in progress to evaluate similar results over a wider range of tests, the results to date clearly indicate the need for improving the procedures for determining wall friction.

..-.. 50
w 40
0 30
0: 20
I 10
Figure 32
7.4 Interaction Jenike Direct Shear Tester ~ Friction/Abrasive Wear Tester -, '"


40 60 80


Comparison of Wall Yield Loci for Bauxite on Bisalloy 500 Effects - Surface Roughness and Particle Size


The interaction between surface roughness and particle size is one set of parameters that effects the magnitude of the friction generated [16]. By way of example, Figure 33 shows the surface roughness, roughness spectra and Wall Yield Loci for black coal on two polished and one rusted mild steel surfaces. As is evident, the rougher surface of the mild steel allows the finer particles to become interlocked in the surface leading to an increase in friction.

7.5 Influence of Vibrations

Roberts et al [20, 21J have shown that the application of vibrations to a wall surface can significantly reduce wall friction and therefore promote flow. Measurements have been made of the dynamic or apparent roughness which indicates the relative surface condition when surfaces are vibrated. The apparent roughness is shown to decrease as the vibration frequency increases, this being illustrated for rusty mild steel in Figure 34. Also shown in Figure 34 is the variation of wall friction angle for coal on the same surface. The reduction in wall friction angle with increase in frequency has the same characteristic shape as the apparent roughness; this indicates a correlation between wall friction and apparent roughness.


Vibrations can also reduce bulk strength, further assisting in promoting gravity flow. The evidence indicates that the best results are achieved by using frequencies of 100 Hertz or higher, and low amplitude.

Bulk Malorlal ~ BLACK COAL

I,I~ Frequency = '1 Wavo length • Two Snrnplo s of Pollshod Mild Siool

Moasured Profllo 2

Power Spoctrum


E 1


Ruslod Mild Slool

(a) Measured wall surface profile and power spectrum

8 r-----------~------------r_--------__,

~, 4
0 2



Normal stress (kPn) .... (b) Wall Yield Locus

Figure 33 Roughness frequency spectra of mild steel samples and corresponding wall frictions [16]

7.6 Other Considerations

During continued operation, the surface condition of bins and silos can change, leading to a change in the wall friction. For example, a surface may become smoother during operation leading to a reduction in wall friction. On the other hand, surface corrosion due to bulk solid and liner contact can lead to corrosion and surface pitting, resulting in a substantial increase in wall friction angle.

Any of the foregoing influences can change to flow pattern in a bin from funnel-flow to mass-flow and vice versa. In many cases, this can be a contributing factor in the creation of pulsating flow. Furthermore, it is well known that a reduction in wall friction will lead to an increase in the magnitude of bin wall pressures.


~ 7
(I) 6
Z 5
CJ 4
a: 3
L 2
0 ~------------------------------------~35 rn




30 ~ .« z

25 ~

o a: u...

20 ::l


Wall Friction Angle

RMS Roughness


40 60




Figure 34 Variation of dynamic or apparent RMS roughness and wall friction angle with vibration frequency for coal on rusty mild steel plate [21]


A common problem in bulk solids handling plant is the build-up of bulk solids in chutes and standpipes. This problem is associated with adhesion and cohesion and is described in Ref. [16]. The relevant characteristics of the bulk solid and boundary surface are depicted in Figure 28. In order that build-up and hence blockages can be avoided, it is necessary for the body forces generated in the bulk mass be sufficient to overcome the forces due to adhesion and shear. Figure 35 illustrates the types of build-up that can occur.

S = 1: I1A


(a) Boundary Shear


(b) Cohesion

(c) Adhesion

Figure 35 Build-up on surfaces [16]

S = Shear Force; B = Body Force; Fo = Adhesive Force


The body forces are normally those due to the weight component of the bulk solid but may also include inertia forces in dynamic systems such as in the case of belt conveyor discharge.

Examples of adhesion are those that may occur in the coal handling plant of a power station; a schematic layout is shown in Figure 36. Three potential trouble spots are illustrated:


(1) Conveyor Feed Chute - Crushing and Screening Building

It is important that the chute be correctly designed to achieve the desired flow pattern and be constructed of a suitable material such as stainless steel type 304 with 2B finish in order to ensure flow [16). Sharp corners or valleys should be avoided through the use of gusset plates.



Figure 36 Schematic arrangement of coal handling plant for power station

(2) Conveyor Discharge

The prediction of carry-back and the design of efficient belt cleaning systems can be achieved using the procedures outlined in Ref. [47]. By measuring the adhesive stress using the inverted shear test apparatus described in Figure 31, the thickness of the bulk solid adhering to the belt after discharge may be predicted. Knowing the thickness h, the carry-back can be readily converted into tonnes per hour.

Referring to Figure 37, the thickness his determined as follows:

Assuming that the critical location occurs when 8 = 180· at the bottom of the pulley,

c h =....:..2.

. P

[ 1000 ]

v2 -+ g R




where 0"0 = Adhesive stress (kPa)
p = Bulk density (t/m3)
v = Belt velocity (rn/s)
R = Pulley radius (m)
g = Gravitational acceleration (0) Belt Discharge Pul] ey

Figure 37 Mechanics of discharge and adhesion

(3) Boiler Bins and Standpipes

Figure 38 shows two arrangements for the coal feed from the boiler bins to the weigh feeders; Figure 38 (a) is the more conventional arrangement while Figure 38 (b) is the suggested arrangement.

Re-positioned Valve

Weigh Feeder

Weigh Feeder

(a) Conventional Arrangement (b) Alternative Arrangement

Figure 38 Power station coal bins and standpipe


For economic reasons, the standpipe diameter d should be as small as possible in order to limit the cost of the weigh feeder. The standpipe diameter should be based on the larger dimension of two computed values:

(i) The minimum arching dimension of the hopper outlet in accordance with equation (2) based on the instantaneous Flow Functions of the coal.

(ii) The pipe diameter computed in accordance with the method outlined in [16].

That is

d ~ 11.0 _Q_ (m) (20)
where 'to = Cohesive shear stress (kPa).
t = Bulk specific weight (kN/m3) If the coal is left undisturbed in the boiler bins for any length of time, an increase in bulk strength will occur. To compensate for this, the shut off valve should not be located as in Figure 38 (a), but rather should be located as in Figure 38 (b). The location of the valve is dictated by the dimension B computed using the Time Flow Function. Provided the coal is run through the system downstream of the valve when shut-down occurs, flow can be initiated satisfactorily when start-up occurs some time later.


Wear is one of the major problems occurring in bulk solids handling plant. Wear may result from impact or abrasion or, as is often the case, a combination of both. In addition, deterioration of metal surfaces can occur as a result of corrosion.

The subject of wear has been discussed in Refs. [13-16]. Some salient aspects are briefly reviewed.

9.1 Impact

Erosive type wear due to impact consists of a combination of plastic deformation and cutting wear. Such wear, for example, occurs in pipe bends of pneumatic conveying systems where impact velocities are normally relatively high and where several impacts and rebounds may take place. Normally the particle size is small in this case.

Impact wear also occurs at discharge points of belt conveyors and at entry points to transfer chutes. Velocities of impact are normally relatively low whereas particle size range can be quite wide with large lumps being present.

Impact wear depends on several factors, the relative hardness of the particles and the surface having a significant influence. For impact on hard, brittle materials, the greatest amount of damage occurs when particles impinge at angles of approximately 900, On the other hand, for ductile materials, the greatest amount of erosive wear occurs when particles strike the surface at low angles of attack, usually in the range 15° to 30°, Erosive wear due to impact is normally composed of two types, deformation wear and cutting wear,

9.2 Abrasive or Rubbing Wear

This occurs in storage bins and silos particularly in hoppers under mass-flow conditions. Under mass-flow the pressures in a hopper will vary significantly over the hopper surface, with the maximum pressure occurring at the transition, the pressure decreasing


towards the outlet. The velocity of the bulk solid adjacent to the wall increases nonlinearly from the transition to the hopper outlet. While the magnitude of the velocity at a particular point on the hopper wall depends on the bin discharge rate, normally the bulk solid velocities are quite low with pure sliding taking place.

Abrasive wear also occurs in transfer chutes, the flow being characterised by lower pressures and higher velocities than those occurring in hoppers. There are several other areas where abrasive wear is experienced such as in feeders, belt conveyors, vibratory conveyors and screw conveyors. Any mechanical device which involves the motion of bulk solids relative to surfaces will experience wear problems.

9.3 Abrasive Wear Parameters

The concept of a non-dimensional Relative Wear Number NWR has been introduced [16] in order to permit comparisons to be made between different bin and chute geometries, is defined as



where Ow = Normal pressure at boundary
y = Bulk specific weight
B = Characteristic dimension; B = outlet dimension in case of hopper;
B = chute width in case of chute
Vs = Velocity of sliding at wall
Vo = Sliding velocity at reference location.
For hopper, Vo is defined at transition of cylinder and hopper
For chute, V 0 is normally defined at point of entry to chute
$ = Wall friction angle
9.4 Wear in Mass-Flow Bins The application of the foregoing to the assessment of relative wear in mass-flow bins has been discussed in Ref. (16). By way of illustration, the relative wear profiles for axisymmetric (or conical) and plane-flow bins having the same opening dimension and hopper half angle respectively are illustrated in Figure 39. In the case of the axisymmetric bins. the maximum relative wear occurs at the outlet, while for the plane-flow bins the maximum relative wear occurs at the transition. In the latter case the wear at the transition is likely to be less than as indicated in Figure 39 owing to the possible build-up of material at the transition. Also, the normal wall pressure occurring at the transition is difficult to predict precisely and is likely to be lower than as indicated.

Some bins are constructed with a variable hopper slope and with the hopper section having different surface textures. Such a bin is discussed in Ref. [36]. The bin in question is axi-symmetric with a capacity of 2400 tonnes. The hopper was lined with 3 mm type 304~2B stainless steel. Examination of the lining after approximately 5 million tonnes of coal had passed through the bin showed that the maximum wear of the stainless steel was around 1 rum.



I 0.8
0 0.6
H -I-
0 B Bin 1 - Conical

+ Bin 2 - Plane-Flow

5 10 15


Figure 39 Relative wear profiles for axi -symmetric and plane-flow mass-flow bins B = 1.0 m, a = 22·, <P(cylinder) = 30°, <P(hopper) = 20°

9.5 Avoidance of Wear Problems due to Eccentric Funnel-Flow

Serious wear problems will occur during funnel-flow where the flow channel or pipe is, not fully contained in the bulk solid itself but may incorporate part of the hopper or bin wall. Problems of this nature may occur when bins with eccentric discharge are used, particularly when the bin opening is located near a side wall. On other occasions a badly designed feeder may cause material to pipe adjacent to the hopper wall. Flow channels of this nature give rise to high velocity flow against the wall resulting in accelerated wear.

Often side delivery chutes are incorporated in bins for the purpose of off-loading bulk materials. Side delivery chutes create undesirable flow patterns in bins, leading to accelerated wear of the bin wall in the region of the chute intake as well as in the plates above the chute. This wear is caused by both abrasion and impact. Abrasive wear results from the high velocity of the materials during chute discharge, the flow velocity of the materials during chute discharge, the flow following a funnel-flow pattern, as indicated in Figure 40. The eccentric discharge induces a non-uniform pressure distribution, as shown; bending is induced and the bin shell is deformed as indicated by the dotted curve.

Impact wear can occur on filling the bin after discharging from the side delivery chute. The surface is left in a rilled condition as indicated in Figure 40. When filling commences, lumps of bulk material may bounce off the rilled surface and impact the wall in the weakened area above the chute.

It should be noted that despite the fact that side delivery chutes may not be used intermittently, the wear rate during operation is considerable. It is therefore most desirable that side delivery chutes be avoided and incorporate any off-loading via a transfer conveyor operating from the main bin discharge. If side delivery chutes are used, such as an existing installation, it is essential that the bins be lined with wear plates in the region of the chute intakes as well as above the chutes.


Vertical Load

Path of Fall Ing .h:..:""'7.'P.:':i-- P a rti c I e s du ri ng Subsequent Filling

Ftnet slope

High Wear Area


Pi pe or (a) Flow Pa t tern


on-Uniform _-~r---r--'-"""::"::"'l--li"'I--Pressure DistribuU on

(b) Shell Deformation

Figure 40 Eccentric discharge due to use of side delivery chutes

9.6 Wear in Transfer Chutes

Abrasive wear in transfer chutes has been discussed in Refs. [14-16]. In the case of straight inclined chutes of constant cross-sectional geometry, the wear is constant along the chute. For chutes of constant curvature, it has been shown that the wear varies along the chute reaching a maximum at a particular chute angle and then decreasing. However, the wear is virtually independent of chute radius.

9.7 Abrasive Wear Tests

The linear action friction/abrasive wear test apparatus described in Figure 31 has proved to be very effective. Numerous tests using this equipment have been conducted over the past two years at The University of Newcastle. Results of the type presented in Figure 41 allow a ready comparison to be made between various lining materials for a particular bulk

. solid. Figure 41 presents, by way of example, the wear results for bauxite in association with three lining materials Bisalloy 500, Bisalloy 360 and Mild Steel. The superiority of the Bisalloy 500 is clearly evident.

9.8 Absolute Wear Prediction

The foregoing tests may be used to predict the absolute wear life of bin and chute lining materials. By way of example, consider a plane-flow bin of proportions defined by the bin of Figure 16. The bin is to handle bauxite. Assuming the bin operates in the discharge mode for 10 hours per day over 300 days per year, the wear life of various lining materials may be predicted as follows:

E 400
CC 300
$: 200

81 SALLOY 360


Belt Speed = 0.285 rn/s Bulk Solid = Bauxite Normal Pressure = 7 kPa

100 TIME (Hours)

Figure 41 Wear with Bauxite

(a) Hopper Lined with Bisalloy 500



From the test results of Figure 41 the wear of Bisalloy 500 in contact with Bauxite is at the rate of 2 Jlm/hr under a normal pressure of 7 kPa and rubbing speed of 0 .285 rn/s. The pressure at the hopper outlet has to be computed as 13 kPa and rubbing speed of 0.025 rn/s corresponding to a discharge rate of 1600 t/hr. On the assumption of linearity (which is supported by experimental evidence), the wear is determined as below:


Wear = 2 x 10 x 300 x 7 x 0.02510.285 = 977 urn

= 0.98 rum per annum

(b) Hopper Lined with Bisalloy 360

Wear = 1.27 nun per annum

(c) Hopper Lined with Mild Steel

Wear = 1.84 mm per annum.

The foregoing wear values are those due to abrasion during bin discharge. Wear due to impact during filling of the bin would be additional to the above values.


10.1 General Discussion

As is often the case, the solution of one problem which leads to an improvement in plant performance exposes other problems which require further research and development. This applies particularly to gravity flow in storage bins and silos where the application of known theories for reliable discharge. such as by mass-flow. can give rise to dynamic or pulsating flow effects. These effects are normally imperceptible as far as bin discharge is concerned having no detrimental effect on the plant operation. However, the pulsating


flow can have a significant influence on the loads acting on bin walls by imposing severe dynamic loads. The phenomenon is often described as 'silo quaking';. it may be linked with the critical head Her for mass-flow as discussed in Section 2 [50].

The discussion that follows provides a qualitative view of the 'silo quaking' problem as it relates to mass-flow, funnel-flow and expanded-flow bins.

Consolideting Pressure

(a) Velocity Profiles and Pressure Distribution (b) Variable Density and Dilation

Figure 42 Mass-Flow Bin

Referring to the mass-flow bin depicted in Figure 42; as the material flows, it dilates leading to variations in density from the static condition. This is depicted pictorially in Figure 42(b). With H > Her. the flow in the cylinder is uniform or 'plug-like' over the cross-section, with flow along the walls. In the region of the transition, the flow starts to converge due to the influence of the hopper and the velocity profile is no longer uniform. The velocity profile is further developed in the hopper as shown. As the flow pressures generate in the hopper the further dilation of the bulk solid occurs. As a result of the dilation, it is possible that the vertical supporting pressures decrease slightly reducing the support given to the plug of bulk solid in the cylinder. This causes the plug to drop momentarily giving rise to a load pulse. The cycle is then repeated.

Studies of the phenomenon of pulsating loads in bins and silos are presently in progress at the University of Newcastle, Australia. In this work, a pilot scale mass-flow, steel silo l.2m diameter by 3.5 m high and fitted with a stainless steel hopper is being used. The silo is fitted with 14 load cells designed by Prof. V. Askegaard of the Technical University of Denmark; these cells are capable of measuring both normal pressure and wall shear stress. An example of a wall pressure and shear stress records depicting the pulsating load in the cylinder are shown in Figure 43.

A similar action to that described above for mass-flow bins may occur in tall funnel-flow bins or silos where the effective transition intersects the wall in the lower region of the silo. As a result, there is flow along the walls of a substantial mass of bulk solid above the effective transition.

During funnel-flow in bins of squat proportions, where there is no flow along the walls, as depicted in Figure 44, dilation of the bulk solid occurs as it expands in the flow channel. As a result some reduction in the radial support given to the stationary material

may occur. If the hopper is fairly steeply sloped, say [9 ~ 0)], then the stationary mass may slip momentarily causing the pressure in the flow channel to increase as a result of the 'squeezing' action. The cycle then repeats.


o 4

Time: 1 Division ~ O.l~inutes


I ~.~-------Discharge-------.p~~-

Figure 43 Load Cell Records depicting Pulsating Loads in Mass-Flow Bin

Flow Zone DlllJted Condition)

.~.'.,'.'I<IX'r:;:~.---. stlJti onary Materi 81

S1 i P as Pressure :fA-~

p Re l exes n

Figure 44 Funnel Flow Bin

A similar behaviour may occur in expanded flow bins, such as the bin depicted in Figure 2. Pulsating loads can occur in such bins. particularly if the slope angle e of the transition is too steep. Owing to segregation on filling, larger size particles are more likely to be located adjacent to the sloping surface at the lower end of the funnel-flow section. Such particles tend to roll as well as slide, aggravating the load slipping problem and giving rise to load pulsations. Problems of this type have been experienced in large coal bins.

10.2 Multi-Outlet Coal Bins

Silo-quaking problems have been known to occur in bins with multiple outlets. By way of illustration. consider the large coal bin shown in Figure 45. The bin has seven outlets, six around an outer pitch circle and one located centrally. The hopper geometries provide for reliable flow permitting complete discharge of the bin contents. Coal was discharged by means of seven vibratory feeders onto a centrally located conveyor belt. When the bin was full or near full. severe shock loads were observed at approximately 3 second intervals during discharge. The discharge rate from each feeder was in the order of 300 t/h. When the level in the bin had dropped to approximately half the height, the shock loads had diminished significantly. With all the outlets operating, the effective transition was well


down towards the bottom of the bin walls and the critical head Hm was of the same order as the bin diameter and greater than DF. Substantial flow occurred along the walls, and since the reclaim hoppers were at a critical slope for mass and funnel-flow as determined by flow property tests, the conditions were right for severe 'silo quaking' to occur.

Confirmation of the mechanism of silo quaking was obtained in field trials conducted on the bin. In one series of tests the three feeders along the centre line parallel with the reclaim conveyor were operated, while the four outer feeders were not operated. This induced funnel-flow in a wedged-shaped pattern as indicated in Figure 45, with the effective transition occurring well up the bin walls, that is Hm< Her (=DF) or Hm« D. The same was true when only the central feeder (Fdr. 1) was operated; in this case the stationary material in the bin formed a conical shape. Under these conditions, the motion down the" walls was greatly restricted and, as a result, the load pulsations were barely perceptible.

,..,._r --D-~"


Pl an of Bin (Reduced Seal e)

Figure 45 Multi-Outlet Coal Bin

In a second set of trials, the three central feeders were left stationary, while the four outer feeders were operated. This gave rise to the triangular prism shaped dead region in the central region, with substantial mass-flow along the walls. The load pulsations were just as severe in this case as was the case with all feeders operating. Dynamic strain measurements were made using strain gauges mounted on selected support columns. When the bin was full (or near full), the measured dynamic strains with Hm »Her were in the order of 4 times the strains measured when the flow pattern was controlled so that Hm< Her·


In this paper an overview of some salient aspects of the storage, flow and handling of bulk solids has been presented. It is quite clear that, in recent years, significant advances have been made in research and development associated with bulk handling systems. It is gratifying to acknowledge the increasing industrial awareness and acceptance throughout the world and particularly in Australia of modern bulk materials handling testing and plant design procedures. These procedures are now well proven, and while much of the industrial development has, and still is, centred around remedial action to correct unsatisfactory design features of existing systems, it is heartening that in many new industrial operations the appropriate design analysis and assessment is being performed prior to plant construction and installation. It is most important that this trend continues.


The paper has indicated, by way of example, the ongoing need for research and development which is necessary as industrial plant and processes become more sophisticated, the demands for better quality control become more stringent and both national and international competition requires more efficient and cost-effective performance.


1. Jenike, A.W. "Gravity Flow of Bulk Solids", Bu!. 108, The Vniv. of Utah, Engn Exp. Station, USA 1961.

2. Jenike, A.W. "Storage and Flow of Solids". Bul. 123, The Univ. of Utah. Engn Exp. Station, USA 1964.

3. Arnold. P.C., McLean, A.G. and Roberts, A.W. "Bulk Solids: Storage, Flow and Handling". The University of Newcastle Research Associates (TUNRA), Australia. 1982.

4. Roberts, A.W. "Modem Concepts in the Design and Engineering of Bulk Solids Handling Systems". TUNRA Bulk Solids Research, The University of Newcastle, Australia, 1988.

5. Thomson F.M. "Storage of Particulate Solids". Chapter 9, Handbook on Powder Science & Technology. (1984) Van Nostrand.

6. Jenike, A.W. "A Theory of Flow of Particulate Solids in Converging and Diverging Channels Based on a Conical Yield Function". Powder Tech., Vo1.50. (pp. 229- 236).

7. Benink, E.l "Flow and Stress Analysis of Cohesionless Bulk Materials in Silos Related to Codes". Doctoral Thesis, The University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. 1989.

8. Johanson, J.R "Method of Calculating Rate of Discharge from Hoppers and Bins".

Trans. Min. Engrs. AIME, Vo1.232, 1965, (pp.69-80).

9. Mclean, A.G. "Flow Rates of Simple Bulk Solids from Mass-Flow Bins", Ph.D.

Thesis, The University of Wollongong, Australia, 1979.

10. Arnold, P.C. and Gu, Z.H. "The Effect of Permeability on the Flowrate of Bulk Solids from Mass-Flow Bins". The IntI. Jnl. of Powder Handling and Processing, Vol. 2, No.3. Sept. 1990, (pp.229-238).

11. Arnold, P.C., Gu, Z.H. and Mcl.ean, A.G., HOn the Flowrate of Bulk Solids from Mass-Flow Bins". Proc. 2nd World Congress Particle Technology, Sept. 19-22, 1990, Kyoto, Japan, Vol. 2, (pp.2-9).

12. Johanson, lR. "Stress and Velocity Fields in the Gravity Flow of Bulk Solids".

ASME, Jnl. of Appl. Mechanics, Vol. 131, Ser. E, No.3, Sept, 1964, (pp.499- 506).

13. Johanson, J.R. and Royal, T.A. "Measuring and Use of Wear Properties for Predicting Life of Bulk Materials Handling Equipment", IntI. In1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 2, No.3, Sept. 1982, (pp.517-523).


14. Roberts, A.W., Ooms, M. and Scott, 0.1. "Surface Friction and Wear in the Storage, Gravity Flow and Handling of Bulk Solids". Proc. Conf. 'War on Wear', Wear in the Mining and Mineral Extraction Industry, Instn. of Mech. Engnrs, Nottingham U.K., 1984, (pp.123·134).

15. Roberts, A.W. "Friction, Adhesion and Wear in Bulk Materials Handling". Proc., AntiWear 88, The Royal Soc. London. 1988. Inst. of Metals, I.Mech. E.

16. Roberts, A.W., Ooms, M. and Wiehe, S.l. "Concepts of Boundary Friction, Adhesion and Wear in Bulk Solids Handling Operations". IntI. In1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 10, No.2, May 1988.

17. Johanson, J.R.. "In-Bin Blending". Chern. Engng. Progress, Vol. 66, No.6, 1970.

18. Johanson, J.R. "The Use of Flow-Corrective Inserts in Bins". ASME, JnI. for Engng. for Industry, Vol. 88, Ser. B, No.2, May 1966, (pp.224-230).

19. Johanson, lR. "Controlling Flow Patterns in Bins by the Use of an Insert". Intl, JnI. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 2, No.3, Sept. 1982, (pp. 495·498).

20. Roberts, A.W."Yibrations of Powders and Bulk Solids". Chapter 6, Handbook on Powder Science & Technology. (1984) Van Nostrand.

21. Roberts, A.W., Ooms, M. and Scott, 0.1. "Influence of Vibrations on the Strength and Boundary Friction Characteristics of Bulk Solids and the Effect on Bin Design". IntI. Jn1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Yo1.6, No. 1. 1986, (pp.161-169).

22. Roberts, A.W. and Rademacher, F.J.C. "Induced Gravity Flow by Mechanical Vibrations". 11th Annual Powder and Bulk Solids Conference, Chicago, USA, 12- 15 May, 1986, (pp.58-74).

23. Terziovski, M. and Arnold, P.C. "On the Effective Sizing and Placement of Air Blasters". IntI. Jn1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 10, No.2, May 1990, (pp.18l- 185).

24. Rombach, G. and Eibl, J. "Numerical Simulation of Filling and Discharging Processes in Silos". Third Intl. Conf. on Bulk Materials Storage, Handling and Transportation, The Instn. of Engrs. Aust., Newcastle, Australia, June 1989, (pp. 48-52).

25. Ooi, J.Y. and Rotter, J.M. "Elastic and Plastic Predictions of Storing Pressures in Conical Hoppers". Third Intl, Conf. on Bulk Materials Storage, Handling and Transportation. The Instn. of Engrs. Aust., Newcastle, Australia, June 1989, (pp. 203-207).

26. Wu, Y,H. "Static and Dynamic Analysis of the Flow of Bulk Materials through Silos". Ph.D, Thesis. The University ofWollongong, Australia, February 1990.

27. Roberts, A.W. and Ooms, M. "Wall Loads in Large Steel and Concrete Bins and Silos due to Eccentric Draw-Down and Other Factors". Proc. 2nd IntI. Conference on 'Design of Silos for Strength and Flow', Powder Advisory Centre, U.K., 1983, (pp.151-170).

28. Ooms, M. and Roberts, A.W. "The Reduction and Control of Flow Pressures in Cracked Grain Silos". Bulk Solids Handling. Vol. 5, No.5, Oct. 1985. (pp.1009- 1016).


29. Roberts, A. W. "Some Aspects of Grain Silo Wall Pressure Research - Influence of Moisture Content on Loads Generated and Control" of Pressures in Tall Multi-Outlet Silos". Proc. 13th IntI. Powder and Bulk Solids Conf., Chicago, USA, May 1988. (pp.11-24).

30. Australian Standard AS3774-1990, "Loads on Bulk Solids Containers". Standards Association of Australia.

31. Roberts A.W., Ooms M and Manjunath K.S., "Feeder Loads and Power Requirements in the Controlled Gravity How of Bulk Solids from Mass-Flow Bins" Trans. LE.Aust., Mechanical Engineering, V.ME9, No.1, April 1984.

32. Manjunath, K.S". and Roberts, A.W., "Wall Pressure-Feeder Load Interactions in Mass-Flow Hopper/Feeder Combinations". Part 1. Intl. Jn1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 6, No.4, Aug. 1986.

33. Manjunath, K.S. and Roberts, AW., "Wall Pressure-Feeder Load Interactions in Mass-Flow Hopper/Feeder Combinations". Part II. Intl. Jn1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 6, No.5, Oct. 1986.

34. Rademacher, F.J.C., "Reclaim Power and Geometry of Bin Interfaces in Belt and Apron Feeders". Intl. Jn1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 2, No.2, June 1982.

35. Roberts, A.W., Ooms, M. and Manjunath, K.S. "Performance of Dump Hopper and Apron Feeder Using Inserts to Control Feeder Loads". Powders and Bulk Solids Conf., Chicago, U.S.A., May 1986 (pp. 192-203).

36. Roberts, AW. and Ooms, M., "Performance Characteristics of Reciprocating Plate Feeders". Proc. 3rd Inti. Conf. on Bulk Materials Storage, Handling and Conveying, The Inst. of Engrs. Aust., Newcastle, June 1989, (pp.369-377).

37. Roberts, A.W. and Oorns, M., "Performance Characteristics of Apron and Reciprocating Plate Feeders for Bulk Solids Handling". Proc. 2nd World Congress Particle Technology, Sept. 19-22, 1990, Kyoto, Japan, Vol. 2, (pp.109-1l7).

38. Roberts A.W. "An Investigation into the Gravity Flow of Non-Cohesive Granular Materials Through Discharge Chutes". Trans. A.S.M.E., In1. for Engng. in Industry, Vol. 91, Series B, No.2, May 1969. (pp. 373-381).

39. Roberts A.W. and Scott O.J. "Flow of Bulk Solids Through Transfer Chutes of Variable Geometry and Profile". Bulk Solids Handling. Vol. 1, No.4, December 1981. (pp. 715-727).

40. Parbery, R.D. and Roberts, A.W. "On Equivalent Friction for Accelerated Gravity Flow of Granular Materials in Chutes". Powder Technology, Vol. 48. 1986. (pp.75-79).

41. Savage, S.B. "Gravity Flow of Cohesionless Granular Materials in Chute and Channels". J.Fluid Mech. Vo1.92, Part 1, 1979. (pp.53-96).

42. Roberts, AW. and Teo, L.R. "Performance Characteristics of Gravity Reclaim Stockpiles of Conical Form", Trans. of Mechanical Engineering. The Instn. of Engrs. Australia, Vol. ME 14. No.2, 1989. pp.97-102.

43. Roberts. A.W. and Teo, L.H. "Design Considerations for Maximum Reclaim.

Capacity of Conical Stockpiles", IntI. Journal of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 10. No.1, 1990.


44. Ooms, M. and Roberts, A.W. "Significant Influence of Wall Friction in the Gravity Flow of Bulk Solids". Intl. Jn1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 5, No.6, 1985

(pp.1271-1277) .

45. Bennett, D.l. "General Arrangement of Testing Equipment for Wall Yield Locus Test under Low Normal Load". AMIRA, Belt Cleaner Project Report, The University of Newcastle, Australia, November 1986.

46. Scott, 0.1. and Keys, S. "Design and Development of Large Shear Cell for Measurement of Boundary Friction". Private Communication, The University of Newcastle, 1989.

47. Roberts, A.W.; Ooms, M. and Bennett, D.l. "Bulk Solid Conveyor Belt Interaction in Relation to Belt Cleaning". Inti. Jnl. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 7, No.3, 1987, (pp.355-362).

48. Michell, A.G.M., "The Lubrication of Plane Surfaces". Zeitschrift Fur Mathematik und Physik, Vol. 52, 1905, (pp.123-137).

49. Roberts, A.W., "Bulk Materials Handling - A Key Discipline of Engineering".

A.O.M. Michell Award Address. Trans. of Mechanical Engineering, The Instn. of Engrs. Australia, Vol. ME 14, No.2, 1989, (pp.84-96).

50. Roberts, A.W., Oorns, M., Askegaard, V. and Wiehe, S.l "Investigation of Flow Instabilities and Beating in Silos'. Paper presented at the CHISA 90 Congress, Prague, Czechoslovakia. August 1990.


51. Andrews, B.R., Boundy, B.l. and Roberts, A.W., "Flow Property Analysis, Design and Construction Details for a 2400 tonne Mass-Flow Bin". IntI. In1. of Bulk Solids Handling, Vol. 3, No.4, November 1983, (pp.781-786).

3. 1



When conside r ing the flow of bulk solids it is important to realise that the behaviour of a bulk solid during flow is not similar [0 that of a liquid. In fact the properties of solids and liquids differ so much that the mechanism for flow in the two cases is quite different. The principal differences are:

(i) Bulk solids can transfer shearing stresses under static conditions whereas liquids do not.

(ii) Many solids when consolidated possess cohesive strength and retain their shape under pressure.

(iii) The shearing stresses that occur in a slowly deforming or flowing bulk solid can usually be considered independent of the rate of shear and dependent on the mean pressure acting within the solid.. In a liquid the situation is reversed; the stresses are dependent on the rate of sbear and independent of the mean pressure.

Tne above differences suggest that 3. bulk solid has to be regarded as a plastic and not a visco-elastic continuum.

There are a great many terms used from time to time to describe the properties of bulk materials, as illustrated by Palowitch et al [311. Many of these properties are used in a qualitative, descriptive and empirical way and are difficult to define precisely and even more difficult to measure. Often. too, some properties are used incorrectly in relation to the storage and flow of bulk solids. In particular the angle of repose has frequently been misused as a measure of angle of internal friction and flowability of a bulk solid..


In order to design storage bins and associated handling systems it is essential that the flow properties be determined by the testing of a representative sample. The testing, which duplicates field conditions in the laboratory, provides the designer with such parameters as

(i) Flow functions FF for instantaneous and time storage conditions. These represent the

strength versus consolidation occurring under storage and flow. (ii) Effective angle of internal friction S

(iii) Wall friction angles ¢ for different bin wall materials and finishes, (iv) Bulk density p as a function of consolidation.

(v) Critical pipe or "rathole" diameter Df as a function of effective head. of solids.

For fine powders, flow rate predictions may be critical. For the detenni.nation of flow rates, it is necessary to mC3SUIe •

(vi) Solids density.

(vii) Permeability of the solids as a function of consolidation.


The strength and flow characteristics of bulk solids are based on the various yiCId 1?cl obtained from laboratory tests. Such tests involve a consolidation phase, in which the sample IS brought to the critical State condition in terms or' voidage, followed by a shear phase. In general, the shear

~ ? j._

versus consolidation characteristics may be obtained by direct shear using either the linear or rotational type shear testers, or indirectly using the biaxial or triaxial cells. The shear test methods are indicated schematically in Figure 3.1. These tests are applicable to bulk solids over the range of moisture conditions up to, but not beyond. the saturated moisture content.







Figure ;,1. She;u- Tests for Bulk Solids.

(a) Jenike Type Direer Shear Tester

Of the above methods. me linear direct shear tester of the type developed by Jenike [1,3J, is probably the most widely used: it allows simpie measurement of the relevant bulk solid parameters. including wall or boundary friction. The tester is equipped with a shear cell of circular shape in plan I as illustrated in Figure 3.2.


Fj gun; 3.:2 Jenilce Iy;pe Shear Cell

The shear cell is composed of a base, which is located on the machine, a shearing ring, which rests on top of the base. and a cover which has a shear force loading bracket attached to it. The shear cell is mounted in the test machine and shear strain is applied by means of the loading stem, the sample of material contained in the cell being subjected to normal pressure rhrough the applied load

V; the shear force (and hence stress) is measured by meeas of a load transducerarui isreccrded L continuously with time. Generally. the cell used has an inside dWneter of 95 ram giving the cell a


cross-sectional area of 1/140 mZ• For high consolidation conditions, it is usual to use a cell of 65 mID diameter having a cross-sectional area of 1/315 m2, The applied strain rate is approximately 2mmfrnin.

As indicated in Figure 3.2, the shear ring is first offset. the objective being that during the shear consolidation phase of the test, consolidation [0 the critical state condition should be completed by the rime the shear ring has moved to a position of concentricity with the base. In view of the limited travel for this condition to be reached, it is necessary to commence each test with a pre-consolidation phase using the set-up illustrated in Figure 3.3. The pre-consolidation phase involves the application of the prescribed consolidation force V[ and, at the same timet the twisting top is given a pre-determined number of oscillatory twists trough an amplitude of, approximately, ± 10°, On completion of pre-consolidation, the mould ring is removed and the sample screeded level with the top of the shear ring to remove excess material, The cell is then set-up as indicated in

Figure 3.2 for the shear consolidation followed by shear rest. .


!~ . Twisting Top


..... _Mould Ring

""' .... '1 ..... ----

...- ... _).., -<" __ ~-_ ........ -:.. .... I



_,J -Offset

Fi~ure 3.3. Pre·Consolidation QfSample

Where time consolidation tests are required. samples contained in their shear cells are first consolidated in the normal way using the direct shear tester and arc then placed in consolidating benches of the type illustrated in Figure 3.4. The samples are stored for the requisite period of time under pressure equal to the major consolidating pressure. After time storage, the shear cells are placed back in the direct shear tester to complete the shear tests.

In performing shear tests on bulk solids. it is usual to test the -4 rom size fraction.. Where bulk solids composed of particles of a large size range from coarse to fines. it is the fine panicles that contribute the the solid's cohesive strength; the coarse particles are gencraJ.ly free flowing. Furthermore, when a storage bin is being tilled. the coarse particles tend to roll to the outside while the fines congregratc in the centre, particularly in the region of the outlet. where a cohesive arch may form. This supports the rationale in only testing the - 4mm size fraction.


Extra 6 Cells

W_Applied J . Load

Loading Stem Cover to Preserve Enviroment

Consolidated Sample

FiglJte ;,<1. Consolidating Bench.

(b) Torsional or Ring Shear Apparatus,

A disadvantage of the Jenike rvce direct shear tester is the limited travel it offers during the consolidation poase. As is evidem from Figure 3.2, travel is limited. effectively, by the thickness of the shear ring. The torsional or ring shear testers. such as the Walker cell, virtually have unlimited travel, However. ring shear testers have the following disadvantages:


Erroneous measurements may occur due to particles becoming wedged in the space between the top and bottom halves of the cell.

Due to the rotational morion. shear strain is a function of the radius and hence is not uniform for ail regions of the bulk solid sample.

Time consolidation tests are difficult to perform,


(c) Triaxial Test Apparatus

This method has certain advantages, particularly for the testing of samples containing larger size particles. The test is. perhaps, a little less simple to perform than the direct shear test of Jenike and. for this reason. is not widely used for bulk handling design applications. In addition. the test is not so readily applicable tor performing time consolidation tests. On the other hand. the triaxial test, by its very nature. has better control over the accuracy of determination of the major consolidating pressure, since this is measured directly rather than induced as in the direct shear test.

Cd) Biaxial Testing Machine

Some recent work: in Norway and West Germany has generated a growing interest in the biaxial testing machine. The West German research and development. for example. is taking place in the Institute of Professor J. Schwedes at Braunschweig University [12,73J. Other work using the biaxial tester is underway at the Christian Michelsen Institute, Bergen, NOIWay. The biaxial tester developed at Braunschweig is under computer control, Controlled. strain may be applied independently in either of two orthogonal directions in the horizontal plane. strain in the. vertical direction being zero. In view of the tlexibility of the independent strain control. the biuial cell offers considerable scope as a research tool and should help to provide new information on stress/strain behaviour. such information is not reOO.ily obtainable by tests ~ OD existing :, test equipment. At this stage the biaxial tester is seen more as a sophisticated research tool rather


than a machine used to evaluate flow properties on a routine basis for bulk solids handling equipment design. A schematic diagram of the tester is shown in Figure 3.5.


Plan View of Bi-Axial Tester

Figure :.5. Sche~;uic ATT';m&,em~t ofBi-ax;al Tester


(a) Instantaneous Yield Loci and Flow Function.

The procedure for using the Jenike direct shear apparatus is detailed by Jenike in Bulletin 123 [3] and Arnold et al [33J. A brief review of the test procedure is now given. As indicated in Section 3.3(a), the sample of bulk solid is first pre-consolidated followed by consolidation under shear in which the material is made to flow under the consolidation stresses until a steady state is reached or approached. Figure 3.6 indi.£"aces the consolidation point as (V,S). Shearing of the sample is now performed at a normal force V smaller than V.

At least three. but prcr~r:lbly six (allowing for repeats), samples are prepared and sheared. in this way at three values of V to produce the Yield Locus of Figure 3.6 for the one consolidation force V. By drawing a Mohr semi-circle through the origin and tangential to the Yield Locus (YL) the point F is found and defined as the unconfined yield force. A similar Mohr semi-circle througb point (V,S) and tangential to the Yield Locus eYL) defines VI the major consolidation principal

force, The values VIand F are both important for design purposes and represent one point on the Flow Function relationship describing the strength of the bulk solid being tested.

The slope of the YL at any point defines the angle of kinematic friction ~ as shown in Figure 3.6. By repeating this procedure for other consolidating loads, a series of YL curves may be obtained to find additional values of F (or ac) and VI (or at) for the Flow Function (FF) relationship. Following the defwtions given in Section 2, the straight line drawn through the origin and tmgenrial to the Mohr circle defining the major and minor principal fon:es or pressures is

called the Effective Yield Locus EYL and the angle 6 is called the Effective Angle of Internal

" /


Friction. A family of YL and the EYL are shown in Figure 3. i. These graphs are plotted in stress units: where force units are used, as is sometimes the case, conversion to stress or pressure units

is achieved by dividing by the area of the shear cell, which is normally 1/140 m2.


E. Y_L.


F V1

~ CJ'1

Figyre :.6. De!e:;;:::::!r!Qrl of Ykld Locus using Direct She;rr Tester.

6 8=424
en 4
~ 2
'0 2 4 6 8 10 14
Normal Stress - kPa Figure 3.7 f;1miIy of Yield Loci for il Cohesive Bulk SoUd (Phosphate Rock)


(b) Time Yield Loci

The Time Yield Loci (fYL) are obtained. by storing the consolidated samples of bulk solids in the consolidation bench for the requisite period of storage time, the samples being stored under the

major consolidating pressure a I' After time consolidation, the samples are sheared in the shear test apparatus. A typical TYL is shown in Figure 3.8. The slope of the TYL at the point of tangency with the Mohr semi-circle through the origin defined the Static Angle of Internal Friction CPr


4 6 8 10

Normal Stress - kPa



Fi~1Jre ;,$. TIme Yield Locus for Ground phosphate Rock.


The various types of flow functions for bulk solids are illustrated in Figure 3.9, For the majority of cases, flow functions for cohesive bulk solids will be convex upward in shape as in curves (a) and (b) or straight lines through the origin as in curve (c). Bulk solids depicting the latter characteristic are referred to as "simple bulk solids". Free flowing bulk solids have no cohesion and hence no

strength (that is, 0c = 0); their flow function coincides with the horizontal axis as in the case of curve (d). The strength of some materials increases more rapidly as the consolidation pressure increases and in this case the now function will depict a concave upward shape as in curve (e). A typical material exhibiting these characteristics is ammonium nitrate prill [56], a material used as an explosive in mining operations.

Several factors influence the strength and hence flow function of bulk materials. These include the moisture content. temperature, storage time, panicle size distribution and external. factors such as mechanical vibrations.

The influence of moisture content is illustrated in Figure 3.10, which shows the instantaneous flow properties of a typical ran-of-mines Uddell coal (Liddell coal is mined in the Hunter Valley of

N.S.W., Australia). The plotted results depict the bulk density p, effective angle of intcmal friction Sand flow function FF for the three moisture contents 5%, 10% and 159& (wet.basis). Referring specifICJlly to the tlow functions. it can be seen that the strength increa.5CS significantly with moisture content. the increase being most pronounced over the range.5% to 10%. Beyond- 15%, the strength would start to level out and even decrease somewhat.

~ Q j.v

Unccnrinad Yield stress



Major Consolidating Pressure cr;

Figure 3.9. Pow Functions for Bulk Solids.

Most cohesive bulk solids gain strength with consolidation during prolonged storage. This is illustrated in Figure 3.11 for Liddell coal at 10% moisture content. An appreciable but not unacceptable increase in strength is obtained after two days storage, that is storage over a week-end period. However. after 5 days the strength gained is very considerable indeed. While it would be , possible to design a satisfactory mass-flow bin to handle the coal for two days storage, it would be impossible to design a satisfactory storage bin to discharge the coal by gravity after 5 days storage or longer. Some rorm of flow promorion would be necessary. Alternatively periodic withdrawal of some coal (say 2 to 3 minutes every 24 hours) would help to reconstitute the coal and reduce the influence of inter-particle bonding; in this way, the influence of prolonged storage on the gain in bulk strength is minimised.

With respect to particle size distribution. as the percentage of fines increases so too will the strength increase. This is illustrated in Figure 3.12 for pyrophyllite, a material used in the manufacture of refractories. The graph indicates the increase in shear strength for a given consolidation pressure with decrease in panicle size. It is interesting to note that the strength of the composite sample is similar to that due to the tine merion.

The strength of some bulk solids is influenced by temperature. This is particularly the case where moist materials are stored at sub-zero temperatures giving rise to freezing. Elevated temperamres can also have an influence such as ammonium nitrate prill which has a critical phase change temperature around 38°C [56].


The bulk density of bulk solids needs to be determined as a function of major consolidation pressure. This is' achieved using a compressibility tester (33J. The relationship for the bulk density is



C = constant

b = compressibility constant.


- - _- _- - ----:----:"1nT

F 800 ,. - :: ;:;:.::-= ~ - - -





12 X) cr; 8





OJ (kPa)


l! ODE!....!.... C',:AL







- -:- .::..:.: - - - 15Z

. --- --!Oz



~ --5i:

Fig'.!re ;,1 P. Pow Properties of ega! ShQwin~ Influence of Mojsrure.


16 14


ae kPa

8 6 4 2

LIDDELL COAL 104: Moisture



~ ao.'8,...~9'~ , \~~


2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20

a:- kPa



I I t1i~ea ~clDcfe SIze
AnOfysis by' Weight

, I, I '
r\ -1'Omm Mixed Sample <425jt.m :16%
____ I L-J--_J_-~ ,425fim<d <8SDl'm .:64%
I \1 I B50j£m<d <1200jlm .16%
I d < 1 mm ': 4%
I I~ I I I
I I 1 .......__ I I ,
1 1 I
I L..'

:!l 4



3 o






Average Parti cle Size-I'm

Figure 3,12. Effect ofP:mjc1e Size on Shear Strength of Pyropbyllite at 5% Me. (d,h,) cr = 4.76 kPa during ConsQlidation


(a) Introductory Remarks

Of the various parameters influencing the gravity flow performance of bulk solids in hoppers and chutes. probably the most significant is the friction characteristic at the contact zone of the bulk solid and wail or boundary surface. As discussed in Section 2.5 when reference was made to Figure 2.5. the importanceof low wail friction in permitting an acceptable hopper half angie for mass-flow in hopper design is emphasised.





FjDute 3.11. Wall Friction InteQcriQDs.


Primarily, wall friction depends on the interaction between three groups of variables, those relating to the bulk solid, those relating to the wall or boundary surface and those which arise from the loading and environmental conditions. This interaction is illustrated, diagrammatically, in Figure 3.13.

The relevant properties in each of the three groups are summarised as follows:

(i) Bulk Solid Characteristics -

These include

* Particle size and size distribution * Particle shaoe

* Particle hardness * Moisture content * Particle density * Bulk density

* Surface chemistry characteristics * Temperature

* Undisturbed storage time

(ii) Wall Surface Characteristics -

These include

* Surface roughness * Hardness -

* Chemical composition

(iii) Loading and Environmental Factors -

These include

* Nanna! pressure between bulk solid and wall surface * Relative rubbing or sliding velocity

* Temperature and humidity or moisture conditions. * Wall vibrations

(b) Surface or Wall Friction

As outlined in Section 2.2. the wall friction characteristics are displayed by the wall yield locus W. Y.L.; the wall friction angle a> is defined as follows:


where T = shear stress at the wall and

(Iw = corresponding normal stress at the wall

Wall or boundary friction can be measured using the Jenike direct shear apparatus. Figure 3.14 shows the type of arrangement used.

The normal load V is varied to obtain a locus of points for the values of shear force S for each normal load V. The CUIVe obtained is called the wall yield locus (WYL). Some wall yield loci arc shown in Figure 3.15 which illustrates the variability obtained from different typeS of wall material.

3. 12



.,. ~. .: ..1;,....... ., -: f : 'I :: . r " ',',~ :'_' : : :: ..

• ." .." ,,4" Io, : .. ~. \ t ,a"' •• ,. t"~ . ,' ....

.... _ ....t ~.. _ .. ;...._... t.. .'~ :.' .. ,:' ~ ... ~. ~"',: "



Figure 3. ~.:1. Test Arr;mgemem for Determination of Wall Yjeld Loc].

Figure 3.15 (3.) shows the wail yield loci for black coal at 10% moisture content on three surfaces. namely, stainless steel type 304 with 2B finish, mild steel polished and rusted mild steel. all for the instantaneous or zero storage rime condition. In the case of the polished mild steel surface, the wail yield locus measured. after i2 hours undisturbed contact or storage time with coal is also shown: the increase in friction in this case is quite considerable with corrosion and adhesion or bonding of coal particles to the steel surface occurring.

Figure 3.15(b) compares the wail yield loci for black coal at 18.7% moisture content and brown coal at 65% moisture content on two surfaces. stainless steel type 304 with 2B finish and Tivar 88. an ultra high molecular weight glass filled polyethylene material. While in absolute terms the moisture contents of the two coals are significantly different. in relative terms with respect to their composition and saturated moisture conditions. they are comparable. For the black coal the wall yield loci for the stainless steel and TIvar surfaces are similar, both exhibiting low friction, this also being the case for the brown coal on the Tivar surface. However, as is clearly evident: the friction characteristics of brown coal on the stainless steel surface leads to abnorma1ly high friction angles rendering this surface entirely unsuitable as a hopper or chute lining material for brown coal. Despite the fact that the Tivar wail material performed well for the black coal in this example as it does indeed for a great many black coals. occasions can occur such as the case study example discussed in Section 4 where ultra high polyethylene wall materials may prove to be unsuitable.

Figure 3. 15(c) illustrates the influence of particle size on the wall yield loci. The graphs show the wall yield loci for two particle size ranges of the same black coal on two diffc:rcnt wall materials. As indicated. a significant difference occurs for the black mild steel surface, whereas for the bright stainless steel surface. the change in particle size range has produced practically no change in the respective wall yield loci. The behaviour depicted in Figure 3.1S(c) may be explained in terms of the interrelation between the panicle size distribution and wall roughness. .

It is to be noted that the adhesiv.elcohesive characteristics of the W.Y 1- discussed in Section 2.4 is exhibited in the various W.Y.L shown in Figure 3.15. It is to be noted that the Jenike direct shear type apparatus does not permit adhesion to be measured directly. This is because there is always positive pressure between the bulk solid and the test surface due to the weight of the shear ring, lid


_10 lSrain!ess Sreel 304·28 S p' 2.PoUshEd Mild Steel

:= '-J i3.RL!sred Mild Sreel

l f r ," . M 5

6.oJ ,,+.rO U S {j 20

~ 72 hr


1:: 4



~ 2

00 2 £, 6 8 10 1L 14

Normal Stress o: (kPa)

r.::l Q.. ...

...... '"' -v

B (2 ck Coal 18·7% M.e. --Brown Coat 65 % M.C.--

~6 Sr ainiess Sreet

V; 304 28



--- I






00 2 4 6 B 10 12 14

Normat S tress cr (kPa)


-2'8mm size ranoe BtaclfMS.

- 4'Omm BlackM.S.

-40mm Briant SS.






~ ~4




~ -2·8 mm Brigh t s.s.

V10+- ~--~--~--~--~~

o 2 4 6 10 12 14

Normal Srress cr (kPa)

Figure 3. IS. Typical Wall Yield Loci.

(a) Wall Yield Loci for Coal on Polish~ and Rusted .Mild Steel and Stainless Stee1.

(b) Wall Yield Loci for Black and Brown Coal on Stainless Steel

and TIvar 88.

(c) Wall Yield Loci Showing Effect of Panicle Size of Coal on Bla.ck Mild Steel

and Stainless Steel..


and contained bulk solid sample. A development of the Jenike apparatus is currently under way to allow for accurate direct measurement of both adhesion (defined as the normal stress for zero shear) and cohesion (defined as the shear stress for zero normal stress or pressure). The device allows the shear to be conducted at zero and negative (that is tensile) pressures.


Surface roughness is an important factor in terms of its influence on wall friction. Yet the specification of surface roughness in terms of appropriate parameters which adequately describe the surface is a complex matter requiring careful and detailed consideration. The measurement and analysis of surfaces has been discussed in some detail by Thomas [75] and Nowicki [76J. Nowicki discusses the evolution of surface roughness measurement and lists some 32 parameters that may be used. These may be grouped into five categories, namely

(i) Height parameters

(ii) Horizontal parameters ,.

(iii) Shape parameters

(iv) Shape spatial extent and amplitude (v) Statistical parameters

It is not feasible in this report to discuss these parameters in detail: rather, a brief overview is given highlighting those pararnetrs that are are more commonly used.

(a) Height Parameters.

These are perhaps the more commonly used parameters: they are simple to describe. but are more qualitative than quanritanve in the information they provide. The height parameters include

>i< Arithmetic mean deviation RJ or centreline average roughness or CLA .. * Ten-point height of irregularities or R.: Number.

* Maximum height of profile or ~.

* &\1S roughness Rq.

* Mean height of peaks ~ and mean depth of valleys Ry. * Peak to valley height R.

* Mean of maximum height of profile Run.

* Profile solidity factor k = RJRmax

Figure 3.16, Surf:!ce Profile.


Of the above, the Ra and Rq numbers are perhaps the more commonly used. Referring to Figure 3.16. these two parameters are described as follows:

R, = 1. J I y(x) I dx L 0


Where y(x) is the coordinate height measured from the mean centre line shown.

The RLYfS roughness has the advantage in that it weights the deviation from the centre line more heavily than that in the ~ determination.

Rq = J1. t[Y(X)]2 dx L 0


In addition to the RJ and R::J. numbers. the Rmax. and Rz are also commonly used in practice.

(b) Horizontal Parameters,

These include

* Mean spacing of profile irregularities Sm

* Number of intersections of profile with mean line nCO) * Number of peaks in profile m

(c) Shape Parameters associated , v ith Mlcroroughness

These include

* Profile slope at centre line .. RlVlS profile slope .:lq

.. Radius of asperity r

* Curvature radius of profile 0

(d) Parameters associated with Shape, Spatial Extent and Amplitude..

These include

,.. Relative length of profile 10

* Mean slope of profile ~

* High spot count HSC

. {e} SbtistiCJ.i Parameters.

The tools of statistical analysis provide an important means for analysing and specifying surface profiles, Parameters commonly used include

* Autocorrelation functi~n Ry(~) '* Spectral density OCfo)

,.. Distribution of ordinates of profile fh (y) .. Distribution of peaks fwCy)


The use of statistical parameters such as the Autocorrelation Function and Spectral Density provide information on the amplitude versus 'waviness' of surfaces. These parameters are defined as follows.

(i) Autocorrelation Function.


Ry (Llx) = 1 f y(x) y(x + ilx) dx (3.5)

L 0

It is to be rooted :'''.at. when .0.X = 0, then the autocorrelation function equals the mean square value, Hence the R..vfS value is given by

R.\1S value Rq = ~)


The Autocorrelation Function is shown in Figure 3.17.

The Spectral Density is obtained from the Fourier Transform of the Autocorrelation Function.


G(fo) = J Ry (6.x ) exp(-j21tfx) dx (3.7)


where f = frequency = l/(wave length)






(b) Autocorrelation FUnction

Figure 3,17. AutocorrelatioD Function.

The Spectral Density has been used by Ooms and Roberts (32] to describe the surfaces of wall materials used in hoppers and chutes. The information obtained from Spectral Density diagrams is illustrated in Figure 3.18. Using this diagram. ready correlation with the data on bulk solid panicle size distribution CJIl be obtained. In this way, it is possible to assess the interaction between the bulk solid and wall surface with respect to relative sliding motion.


RMS Roughness Amplitude


Deep Waviness


Roughness Frequency

F1glJre ;. 18. T~iC3.1 Amplitude FreQuency SpecQ1lm of a Random Surface

By examining the amplitude versus wave length (i.e. inverse of frequency) for different zones of the Spectral Density diagram and relating this information to the panicle size distribution. it is possible to assess the extent to which solids to surface sliding and solids to solids sliding take place. The latter occurs when the particles are smaller than the roughness grooves formed in the boundary surface: this is likely to result from the deep waviness zones at the low frequency end of the Spectral Density diagram as illustrated in Figure 3.18.

By way of illustration, Figure 3.19 compares the wall yield loci, surface profiles and surface roughness amplitude frequency spectra for black coal on two samples of stainless steel type 304 with 2B finish.

One stainless steel sample is from a 3 mm plate and the other from a 5 mm plate: while both have the same centre-line or Ra index. the plates were produced by different rolling processes. It is

quite evident that the frequency spectra are quite different and this is reflected in the wall friction characteristics of the 5 nun plate, the rougher surface of the two, being th~. higher.

Figures 3.20 and 3.21 summarise some results of the research of Ooms and Roberts (32] concerning the interaction between wall or boundary friction, surface roughness and particle size.

(0 Three Dlmensional Characteristics of Surface Roughness.

Although it is quite obvious. it is. nonetheless. necessary to draw attention to the fact that the surface roughness is three dimensional. with two horizontal or lateral coordinates in addition to the height coordinate. Thus. for a given bulk sclid, the wall friction characteristics may vary according to the direction of sliding motion. Thomas [75]J for example, has examined the three dimensional roughness characterisncs of surfaces.







Stainless Steel 304~2a

5 1Il.IlI, Plate

3 It.=.





NorMAl Stress

(aj Wall Yield Loci for C031

Surface Protile


~plltude Frequency Speccrum

(bl Stainless Steel 304-2B 3 I\l,~. Plato

~ .~ ....... , ... -.

Surface Profile

AapU tude rroqu.ncy Sp":Cl'UII

(c) StAinl ••• St.el lO~D~. 5 •••• Plat.

F' ~ '0 V I Y

'gure .,1 ( , ~ a I )eld Loci. Syrface Profile and Roul'!'hness Fte.QuenQ: Sg:,era

tor Coal on Stajnless Steel. (OOWs~mRel.132[


r, 20
1..0 0
- 4 m.lII. C:.lt - BLACK COAL
samples - BROWN COAL
j V
.... /
/ .... /--:1
yo' •
. ....
.... -
I o





Figure 3,;Q, 'VaIl Ff-ct!QU Angle ;!S a Function of Surface RQughness for Two Materials



- -- .. ~ 1""".-.'11"

E =.w...-s.t-.'\. ._..,.t\..&.I

v__.! • ;sc .1



r---- Plane-flow r-- Conical

o :::- 40


§ 30


Assume 6 .. 50·

C 20
;;: 10 ......... I I
~r----- I
r-::; k -
~ I
I I o 0.01





Figure 3,21 Wan Friction Angle ;md HogperHaIfAngle as a Function of Mean Partiele Sip;



The publication Australian Guidelines for the Assessment of Loads on Bulk Solids Containers. Ref:[77], proposes four surface roughness characteristics, designated Dl to D4, ranging from polished to very rough or corrugated surfaces. In order that these surface classifications may be quantified in some way, M. Ooms of The University of Newcastle (Australia) (Ref.[78]) proposed that the fOUI categories of surfaces be grouped in terms of roughness bands based on the Mean Centreline Roughness or Ra number. Surfaces commonly used in Bulk Solids Handling have been classified according to this procedure and presented in Figure 3.22 . The four main groups are -

Dl Polished e.g. Polished stainless steel. Extruded H.D.P .E., Galvanised carbon steel.

D2 Smooth e.g. Pickled stainless steel, cast H.D.P.E., painted carbon steel, carbon steel with

light surface rust, smooth ceramic tiles, steel finished concrete.

D3 Rough e.g. Off form concrete. pitted carbon steel, come ceramic tiles.

D4 Corrugated e.g. Premed sheeting with horizontal lag.

From the discussion in Section 3.8, it is apparent that the proposed form of classification is somewhat restrictive in terms of the limited information conveyed by the R::t number. The limitations have been pointed out by Ooms [78], who indicates that the wall roughness may not necessarily remain constant and should be considered as a variable. Furthermore, the interaction effect referred to in Section 3.7 has also been noted by Ooms. For instance, a polished or lightly . rusted carbon steel surface may become deeply pitted and change from group D2 to group D3. An I aluminium surface is easily scored and may change from group D1 to group D2. On the other hand. some stainless steel surfaces will polish during service and may change from group D2 to group D 1. It must be noted that the lareral characteristics of surface roughness are two dimensional and. during service. wear due to motion of a bulk solid may be more pronounced in one lateral direction than the other.

The changes referred to in the previous paragraph will depend on the relevant properties of the wall material and the bulk solid.. However. as Ooms points out, they are somewhat predictable within the broad roughness groups Dl - D3. The influence of discontinuities such as ledges or protrusions offered by butt welds and lap joints should be considered.

The interaction between particle size and wall roughness. as discussed in Section 3.3, requires consideration. For instance. in the ClSC of larger particles. group D2 and D3 surfaces may appear as polished or smooth surfaces respectively, On the other hand, for extremely fine powders, the majority of surfaces may appear as Group D3 or rough surfaces.

The influence of adhesion and moisture effects requires comment, The adhesion component of total wall friction is generally higher for polished or group Dl surfaces than it is for group D2 and D3 surfaces at low normal pressures. The effect of moisture will accelerate the deterioration of carbon steel surfaces.


r ti
IQ co
fOI co
..l . <:!_
... co
0 .., ...
'" ~
.:T Q.
Q 0
.L .,
-e C
.. w
.. A.
.. A.
.. s
In oJ
Q g
0.1 I co
I- :r - co
!: C!,
f ."
.... ..
I ..
.. n
M a ..
Q ... ..
... T
:; 1 co
~ - co
e .;. 1 ...
- '"
r.I a :l ."
ti .... 0 ..
~ ..
'" .c ...
101 .. ..
.:3 :l A. .1
... I
u .. c
- 0
:;, ... %
0 '"
" ~ ...
J: ..l ;;: ..
.. ;: :l
-0 ..
0: ..l
.. - u ... "
... .. 0.1 U - co
~ '" .. ...
.. III ... '" J. s '.1.
.. '" .. 0.1
N .. w ~ :l '" 0:
oJ U VI !!! .. w s ..
c. '" I i 0 '" ..
IT '" ~ j w .. 1
.. I .., u
I u '" .. .. I
'" ." '"
'"' ..l .. :r: ."
-e ..l ... oJ .. ..
'" .. .. '" C ..l ....
.. '" to - JJ<
~ .. ;- :c '" .. l:i ..!l
- = ..
- 2 I w ..
'" Q ~ ;z: =: I
T ... ." III
T T 3 '" .. III ~
f- .. .. to
~ (J - W ." s ...
0( e -, ..
Q • Go ." A.
101 :> "
.. '" ... Q .. oJ
% .. .. .. w
IT 8 2 :I: >I 101
101 :;
T "
.... ..
III ...
... -
..l a
z '"
.. I- ~

. ...
e Q W Ul



Ul W (J

'" tI.





a:; C








Fj!lure 3.;2 Roughness OilssificarioD proposed by Ooms fRef,£78ll

3.10 INFLUE:.~CE OF VIBRATIONS (a) Introductory Remarks


Roberts et a1 (57-60] have studied the influence of mechanical vibrations on the strength and flow properties of bulk solids. This work bas led to the following conclusion:

Bulk strength can be appreciably reduced by the application of mechanical vibrations, the best results being achieved by the application of higher frequencies (> 100 Hertz) and small amplitudes (approximately 0.1 mm).

A theory of failure has been established which shows that the reduction in strength decreases exponentially with the vibration velocity, the limiting condition being governed by the critical state condition.



The damping is a combination of Coulomb and viscous type damping

The application of vibrations to a wall or surface can significantly reduce wall friction and

therefore promote flow.

A vibrating Shear Cell apparatus has been developed at the University of Newcastle, Australia. This apparatus is an extension of the standard J enike type shear tester with provision for vibrations to be applied to the shear cell. either without shear or simultaneously with an applied shear force. In the former. it is possible to examine vibration consolidation effects on bulk strength; in the latter. it is possible to measure the reduction in bulk strength due to applied vibrations, the data obtained being of relevance to the design and selection of vibratory flow promotion devices.



The test arrangements using the dynamic shear cell allows for vibrations to be applied to the whole i cell or top half only as indicated in Figure 3.23.


s \ .

Shear Str-ain

:"\...Xi F:

X1/ I

Input/ Leaf Springs Vibration

(a) Whole cell Vibrated


(b) Vlbration of 'l'Op Half of Cell .

Figure 3.;3. Test Ammgements'for the Vjbrating Sbew Cell.

(b) Influence of Vibr:ltions on Bulk Strength.

The research has shown that the reduction in shear stress of bulk solids subjected to vibrations decreases exponentially with increase in vibration velocity as shown in Figure 3.24. The vibration L velocity on the shell plane correlates with the voidage.


c 0"-2 '99 kPa cr=4'23 • (1'=5'47 '

Critical stare



6 8 10 12 14 16 18

Vibration Velocity 21rXrf (mM)


Figme 3.24. She:rr Stress Attenuation as a function of Relative VelocitY on the Shear Plane. -1 mm PVI"QpnviHte (i! refrncrory clay); 5% moisture Content (d,b,); Normal Pressure during Consolidation == 1,9 kPll: Amplitude of Applied Vibration == 0,1 mm


7f = Shear stress measured at frequency f

'7'00= limiting shear strength as indicated in Figure 3,24. ~ = Constant as indicated in Figure 3.24.

f = Frequency (Hz)

X, = Vibration amplitude (nun)

U == Vibration velocity constant (mmls)

Experimental evidence suggests that U is independent of the consolidation pressure and applied normal pressure during vibration. U appears to be constant for a particular bulk solid; for example. for pyrophyllite (a refractory clay) U == i mm/s and for iron are U == 10 mmls.


Knowing the value of U for a particular bulk solid, the value of the relative amplitude X, on the shear plane and frequency f for maximum shear strength reduction may be estimated. from


The form of equtaion (3.9), for a range of values of vibration velocity constant U is given in Figure 3,25. .Experience has shown that the best results for the maximum reduction in shear strength for flow promotion purposes is achieved by using higher frequencies, at least 100 Hz, and lower amplitudes.

For bin design, the influence of vibrations on the flow function is of particular interest. By way of illustration. Figure 3.26 shows the unvibrated and vibrated flow functions for pyrophyllite; for the

latter, a vibration velocity of U ;is 13 mmls was used, this being close to the value required. for . maximum shear Strenght reduction. The reduction in strength shown by the vibrarm Bow function is quite appreciable. The influence on bin design is discussed in Section S.

''; L1
I .... I
;mmi. !
~ .
1.0 1
X!" [

0 00 100 150 200
Frequency t [HZ] Figure 3.25. Relationship ber,veen Xr f and U for Maximum Shsar Strength Reduction.

1·6 I

I • 4 1 I' 1

~E I

~ -I

1·2 -

c., i-O To1 _"...._-.--....--.,........,. .....-- _ __,.__,.__,. -;.

·(b) Effective Angle of Internal

. .. Friction 6

~ 10~1~~--._~-.~--._.-~~~~--~

~ i


\,2;! x _.._,s

"'g bU .=


c o u



(a) Bulk Oensi ty

Top Ring Vibrated at 200Hz !O,O'mm



5 10 15 18

Major Consolidation Pressure -·or-kPa

(c) Flow Funct ions

Figure 1;6. Effect of Vibrnrion on Bow Function for -1 mm PmpbyUite at 5$ M.e. (deb) .~


(c) Influence of Vlbranons on Wall Friction.

The apparatus of Figure 3.23 (b) also permits measurement of the vibrated wall yield locus. In this case, a sample of the wail material is used in place of the lower half of the shear cell. The influence of mechanical vibrations on wall friction, is illustrated in Figure 3.27, which presents the wall yield loci for pyrophyilite on mild steel plate.

As shown in Figure 3.2i. the application of vibrations can significantly reduce wall shear stresses and hence wail friction, particularly as the vibration frequency increases.


1.8 a Hz
1.6 -o- 120 Hz
·11- 150 Hz
STRESS (kPa) 1.0

0.2 ,

0 2 3 4 5
NORMAL PRESSURE (kPa) Figure 3,"7. V;bQted Wall Y:eld Locj for Pvrophyllite on MUd Steel Plate.

Vibrntion .A.mpijrude Xr - 0.1 mm Moisture ConteD[ - 5% Cw.b.)

, ...... ,. ~

Measurements have been made of the dynamic or apparent roughness which indicates the relative surface condition when surfaces are vibrated. The apparent roughness is shown to decrease as the vibration frequency increases. this being illustrated for rusty mild steel in Figure 3.28. Also shown in Figure 3.28 is the variation of wall friction angle for coal on the same surface. The reduction in wall friction angle with increase in frequency has the same characteristic shape as the apparent roughness: this indicates a correlation between wall friction and apparent roughness, but further

research is necessary to substantiate this conclusion. .

Vibrations can also reduce bulk strength. further assisting in promoting gravity flow. The evidence indicates that the best results are achieved by using frequencies of 100 Hertz or higher. and low amplitude.


Deg 7~~~~~~----'_~--~--~'~

RMS ~~ 5~~--~--~~--~~~~~+-~




I R~ Roughness 3+-~--~'~~--+'--~~--~~+-~

2 +-_I_"';"--i--"";'--I---I--i---+-......u 20 o

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 FREQUENCY Hz

Fjgure 3.:8, Variation of Dynamic or Apparent R;\1S Roughness and Wall Friction Angle with Vibration FreQuencv for Coal on Rusty Mild Steel Plate.


Ageing effects. due mostly [0 extended periods of undisturbed storage, may have a detrimental effect on the operation of 3. storage system by -


causing an increase in strength of the bulk solid material in the storage bin or stockpile.

causing hopper wall surface corrosion and deterioration due to wet solids contact.

The influence of undisturbed storage over extended time periods on bulk strength was discussed in Section 3.6 and illustrated in Figure 3.11. It is quite apparent that the gain in strength is due to two principal causes:

(i) Mechanical' settling under the action of the stress field established in the bulk solid as the

solid approaches, asymptotically, its equilibrium condition.

(il) Inter-particle bonding due to surface chemistry effects.

Impurities in bulk solids. such as clay in coal, can lead to problems in storage andbandUng. Problems of this type are known to occur when coal is left undistul'Qed in stockpiles for extended periods of time. Oxidation and dispersion of clays arising from the weathering process are likely to create difficulties due to adhesion and blockages in subsequent handling and storage operations. Problems of this type are discussed in Section 6.

For bulk solids in contact with boundary surfaces such as in chutes and hoppers, the influence of prolonged undisturbed contact can be quite dramatic, It has been found that this effect is more severe on carbon steel surfaces in contact with wet solids, particularly black coals which may· contain quantities of corrosive agents. The effect of prolonged storage on carbon steel was ( illustrated in Figure 3.15 (a). A funher example, of this phenomenon is shown in Figure 3.29. ~-


This figure shows comparative results of wall friction tests, using the Jenike direct shear apparatus, of wet black coal on mild steel surfaces for instantaneous conditions and for conditions simulating 48 hours undisturbed storage at ambient temperatures. The effect of prolonged contact on mild steel is further illustrated in the photographs of Figure 3.30.

(Il /1

/ / /

/ 1

-- -- ?:~viously Rus~eci Mild Steel

----- previously polishec Mild Steel

1. Instantaneous W.Y.~.

2. 48 Rour Time N.Y.:.




Normal COnsolidation Stress (kPa)


Fig-Ute 3.29, Surface Friction of Coal 00 Carbop Steel Surfaces

(a) Coal

(b) Ash

Egure 3.30. Photographs Showing Effects of 48 Hours Undisturbed Contact on Carbon Steel

In applications where temperatUre gradients or elevated temperatureS exist special at=rion needs to be given to hopper surfaces in relation to corrosion resistance to maintain smooth surfaces and reliable performance. High density polyethelene lining and some stainless steels have been found . to perform well where carbon steels have not performed well. In two 3500 tont:le tlat bottom coal silos. with 7 outlet hoppers consuucted of carbon steel, arching and piping occurred when an


attempt was made to discharge coal after four days of undisturbed storage during· a conveyor breakdown. Inspection of the hoppers showed extreme degradation of the hopper surfaces caused by corrosion. Testing indicated that stainless steel lining (or some other suitable lining unaffected by the corrosive atmosphere and having an appropriate wall friction angle) placed over the existing Mild Steel would prevent a re-occurrence of flow interruptions,


During periods of undisturbed storage of wet bulk solids in bins some phase separation may take place. Materials such as coals and ores with high moisture content may go through some dramatic physical changes. A good design takes this into account by determining the flow properties for a wide range of moisture conditions. In open stockpiles in areas of high rainfall this can be a real problem. Arnold et al [34] reports on the problem of water washing the fines through a coal stockpile and causing 'slumping' into the reclaim runnel, Correct design taking account of these possibilities will give reliable operation under all conditions.

For extended periods of storage, after the excess or free moisture has either gravitated through the material or been allowed to evaporate, a different type of phase separation problem may arise, particularly in materials which are soluble or have soluble components. Liquid bridges present in the wet bulk solid may crystallise forming solid bridges. Some very interesting work has been done in an attempt to measure these effects. Bagster [35] has investigated caking of raw sugar while Tomas and Schubert (36J have conducted experiments with fine ores.


In the case of fine powders. such as pulverised coal. permeability and panicle solids density are properties that need to be measured.

(a) Permeability

The settling and consolidation characteristics of fine powder type bulk solids. when placed in storage, and the gravity discharge cnaracterisncs during flow from storage are governed. to a large extent, by the :lbility of air to permeate through the stored mass. Permeability is determined. as a function of consolidation pressure by measuring the pressure drop across a sample as a function of

pressure drop, This is illustrated in Figure 3.31. ... . .. "




Fi gun; ~ 31. l'enneilbiU tv Test.


The relationship is given by Darcy's equation


v := air velocity

c := permeability factor

J).p = pressure drop across sample h := sample height

The permeability factor is given by

c:= .5L



Co := constant

a 1 := major consolidation pressure

a = permeability constant for the bulk: solid



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