Rotter

85
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing
Eccentrically Discharging Solids
J. Michael ROTTER
University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
ABSTRACT: The eccentric discharge of stored solids from moderately slender metal silos has
caused many dramatic and catastrophic buckling failures. Despite these many failures, eccentric
discharge failures are poorly understood even by specialists in shell structures, and the cause of
failure is often misinterpreted. In particular, buckles occurring well up the wall of a silo are
often thought to be difficult to explain. This paper sets out the theory of pressures occurring in
silos under eccentric pipe flow where part of the flow channel is in contact with the silo wall. It
then uses pressures predicted by this theory to analyse an example structure, with different flow
channel geometries. The stress patterns are seen to be such that local axial compression buckles
are likely to occur well up the wall, and it is found that certain sizes of flow channel are critically
dangerous to the structural integrity of the silo shell.
1 INTRODUCTION
Eccentric discharge (Fig. 1) is known to have caused dramatic and catastrophic failures in many
metal silos of circular planform. It is widely recognised to be a much more serious loading
condition than concentric discharge, and the most commonly offered advice on eccentric
discharge is that it should be avoided if at all possible. Nevertheless, many economically
desirable mechanical handling configurations require eccentric discharge from silos, and many
silos have been subject to eccentric discharge over extended periods without suffering damage.
Further, modifications to existing structures are sometimes difficult to accomplish without
introducing eccentric discharge facilities. All these factors suggest that a continued use of
eccentric discharge is inevitable, and that analytical procedures should be developed to predict
the structural consequences.

Many experiments have been conducted on silos under eccentric discharge, using a variety of
geometries, stored solids and flow patterns /Pieper and Wenzel, 1964/ Pieper, 1969/
Banachowicz et al, 1973/ Garg and Gopalakrishnan, 1974/ Ravanet, 1976/ Nielsen and
Kristiansen, 1979/ Blight and Midgley, 1980/ Pieper et al, 1981/ Nielsen and Andersen, 1981,
1982/ Murfitt and Bransby, 1982/ Hartlen et al, 1984/ Gale et al, 1986/ Chrisp et al, 1988/ Ooi
et al, 1990/ Walters, 1995/ Brown et al 1995/ Chen, 1996/ Chen et al, 1998 / Zhong et al, 2001/,
but the findings are rather varied and not easy to generalise. A wide-ranging review of these and
other experiments was given by Hampe and Kaminski /1984/ and Hampe /1991/, who also
reviewed some proposals for pressures on the silo walls though many of these were made in
rather obscure publications. A clearer description of the phenomena associated with eccentric
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
86
discharge pressure patterns was given by Nielsen /1998/. Proposals for pressure distributions
that were similar in kind were made by Jenike /1967/, McLean and Arnold /1982/ Johnston and
Hunt /1983/, Wood /1983/, Roberts and Ooms /1983/, Emanuel et al /1983/, Rotter /1986/, ACI
ADP /1989/, Rotter et al /1990/ and Rotter /2001/.



Static solid
Flow
channel

Static
solid
Pressure values vary
with depth in the silo
Static
pressures
Flow channel
pressures
p
hse
p
hce
θ
c
θ

Fig. 1 Cylindrical silo with eccentric
discharge of stored solids
Fig. 2 Pressure pattern for eccentric
discharge: typical cross-section


The correlation between the above proposed pressure distributions and the experimental
observations is not always close, but no suggestions appear to have been made yet which do
correlate closely with experiments. The only standard for silo pressures that defines a pattern of
pressures for eccentric discharge is the Australian Standard /AS3774, 1996/, but the rule there is
empirically based on a limited number of the above experiments. Here, the pressure theory of
Rotter /1986/ is outlined and slightly simplified. The results applied to some example structures.
The chief purpose is to define the pressures with useful accuracy for the condition of an eccentric
pipe flow against the silo wall. This can be used to achieve safe practical design calculations
that represent a possible loading condition, even if the solids flow patterns cannot be predicted
with certainty. The pressure distribution of Rotter /1986/ differs from the other proposals in that
it is based on sound mechanics and satisfies overall static equilibrium. The approach has been
adopted in the American Concrete Institute proposals /ACI ADP, 1989/ and is under discussion
for adoption into Eurocode 1 Part 4. A practical outline is given in Rotter /2001/.

Most earlier descriptions of the structural consequences of eccentric discharge pressures /Jenike,
1967/ Jenkyn, 1978/ Emanuel et al, 1983/ Haydl, 1983/ Johnston and Hunt, 1983/ Roberts and
Ooms, 1983/ Wood, 1983/ Peter, 1983/ Bodarski et al, 1985/ Hampe, 1991/ were concerned only
with the silo wall acting as a ring at any given level. As a result, they assumed that
circumferentially non-uniform pressures simply gave rise to circumferential tensions and
bending moments. This may be substantially true for many reinforced concrete silos, which
usually have little vertical bending strength because there is little vertical reinforcement.
However, this assumption is inappropriate for thin-walled metal silos, where the damage
certainly appears to be related to buckling phenomena (Fig. 3).


Rotter
87


Fig. 3 Typical buckling failure under eccentric discharge

It should first be noted that many buckling failures of metal silos under eccentric discharge have
been observed in the field, and that this failure mode is confirmed by the few published
experiments /Ross et al, 1980/ Jumikis et al, 1986/ Rotter et al, 1989/. Only a few advisory
documents for designers have drawn attention to buckling as the principal consequence of
eccentric discharge /Buchert, 1967/ Rotter, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1999/. In this paper, the assessed
eccentric discharge pressures are applied to a typical metal silo, and the resulting wall stress
distributions are examined. The most critical design consideration is found to be buckling under
axial compression, and a suitable ultimate stress assessment procedure is proposed.
2 WALL PRESSURES UNDER ECCENTRIC DISCHARGE
2.1 Pressures in the Flow Channel
Most proposals for the pressures on silo walls during eccentric discharge relate to a flow pattern,
and a resulting pressure distribution of the form shown in Fig. 2. The following development
follows the same model, but with a more careful assessment of the resulting pressures. The flow
channel is assumed to have parallel vertical walls here, because the resulting pressures can be
written in closed form. However, a more general version with a tapering flow channel can be
developed using numerical procedures.
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
88



r
θ
c
δ
r
c
e
e

36000
14400
12000
20 pl
12 pl
10 pl
16 pl
5400
18000
21600
8 pl
25200
6 pl
Dimensions in mm
pl

Fig. 4 Cross-section through stored solid
with eccentric flow channel
Fig. 5 Example flyash silo

A cross-section showing the geometry of the channel of flowing solid against the silo wall is
shown in Fig. 4. This channel is assumed to extend to the solid surface. The moving solid
behaves as if its boundaries were the walls of a small silo with cross-sectional area:
A
c
= (π − δ)r
c
2
+ θ
c
r
2
− rr
c
sin (δ−θ
c
) (1)
where the parameters are defined in Fig. 4. The angle δ is related to the cylinder radius r and
flow channel radius r
c
by:
sin δ =
r
r
c
sin θ
c
(2)
and the eccentricity of the flow channel centre e
e
is given by:
e
e
= r cos δ - r
c
cos θ
c
(3)
Thus the angular length of the wall contact with the flowing channel is related to the eccentricity
of the channel, and being bounded by the circumferential coordinates θ = ±θ
c
, where:
cos θ
c
=
r
2
+ e
e
2
− r
c
2
2 r

e
e
(4)
The horizontal perimeter of the flow channel is made of two parts, part against the wall and part
against the static stored solid. The arc length of the contact perimeter between the flow channel
and the wall is:
U
wc
= 2 θ
c
r (5)
The arc length of the contact perimeter between the static solid and the wall is:
U
ws
= 2 (π − θ
c
) r (6)
Rotter
89
and the arc length of the contact perimeter between the flow channel and static solid is:
U
sc
= 2 r
c
(π − δ) (7)
The original theory of Rotter /1986/ adopted additional assumptions concerning the lateral
pressure ratio that might exist within the flowing and static solid zones, but these are not really
necessary in a simplified version, and make a relatively small difference to the structural
outcome. Here, it is supposed that the horizontal pressure p is relatively constant within the
flowing channel, and that the ratio of this to the mean vertical stress in the flowing material q
c
is
defined by the parameter K, which is taken as a material constant. The wall friction against the
wall is fully mobilised at the wall friction coefficient µ
w
, and the frictional contact between the
flowing and static solid may be taken as ideally rough for the solid with µ
sc
= tanφ
i
, where φ
i
is
the angle of internal friction of the solid.

The equation of vertical equilibrium of a slice through the flow channel may now be written:
A
c

dq
c
dz
+ q
c

w
KU
wc
+ µ
sc
KU
wc
) = γA
c
(8)
where:
γ is the unit weight of the stored solid
µ
w
is the wall friction coefficient for solid against the cylindrical wall
µ
sc
is the wall friction coefficient for solid against itself
K is the lateral pressure ratio for the stored solid

in which q
c
is the mean vertical pressure in the flow channel at depth z. Subject to the boundary
condition that the pressure is zero at the equivalent surface, this equation may be solved to give
Janssen's equation for the horizontal pressure at depth z in the flowing channel (Fig. 2):
p
hce
= p
hco
( ) 1 − e
-z/z
oc
(9)
and the frictional traction on the silo wall at depth z as:
p
wce
= µ
w
p
hce
= µ
w
p
hco
( ) 1 − e
-z/z
oc
(10)
in which:
p
hco
= γ K z
oc
(11)
z
oc
=
1
K

\

|
.
|
|
A
c
U
wc

µ
w
+ U
sc
µ
sc
(12)
The pressure in the flow channel is taken as uniform, so the value against on the interface
between the flowing and static solid is taken as identical to that against the wall.
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
90
2.2 Flow Channel Geometry
In Rotter’s /1986/ theory, it is assumed that the flow channel adopts a geometry that will
maximise the weight of each elemental slice whilst minimising the frictional drag from the
channel sides. It can be argued that this geometry will naturally arise because if there is a local
perturbation where this condition is not satisfied, the weight of the small element of solid and the
frictional drag on its boundary will exceed the resistance to flow, and the boundary position will
move to satisfy the condition. This minimum corresponds to maximising the ratio of A
c
to
(U
wc
µ
w
+U
sc
µ
sc
), or maximising the value of z
oc
. The condition under which this occurs depends
on whether the flow channel eccentricity e
e
or its radius r
c
is assumed to be determined by other
factors, but the numerical outcomes are similar. If the radius r
c
is fixed, the criterion leads to the
condition:
[(π-δ)b
2

c
−bsin(δ-θ
c
)]
\

|
.
|
|
1−
cosθ
c
cosδ
y = [θ
c
+(π-δ)by]

1−
cos(δ-θ
c
)cosθ
c
cosδ
+b
\

|
.
|
|
cos(δ-θ
c
)−
cosθ
c
cosδ
(13)
in which b = r
c
/r and y = µ
sc

w
.

Using this condition, the value of the geometric parameters e
e
, δ and θ
c
for the flow channel can
be found. It is rather tedious to have to solve this transcendental equation for all possible values
of the parameters, and the result can be reasonably accurately approximated (Rotter, 2001) by
estimating the flow channel radius r
c
as:
r
c
= r {1 − E [E + η(1−E)]} (14)
in which E = e
e
/r and η = µ
w

sc
.
The flow channel geometries have the general form shown in Fig. 4, with the angle δ close to
zero for very rough walls (i.e. the flow channel forms internally if the wall is very rough), but
adopting a value of about 50° for highly eccentric channels with ideally smooth walls, and rising
with falling channel eccentricity.
2.3 Pressures in the Static Solid
The static solid is in a state of static equilibrium. Its cross-sectional area (Fig. 4) is:
A
s
= πr
2
− A
c
(15)
and its contact perimeter with the cylindrical silo wall is:
U
ws
= 2 (π − θ
c
) r (16)
whilst that against the flow channel is still U
cs
.

The horizontal stress in the static solid must vary from one point and direction to another: the
value normal to the static-flow channel interface must be equal to the value in the flow channel,
whilst that against the cylinder wall must be much higher to permit static equilibrium of this
mass of solid (a low wall pressure would cause low frictional tractions on the wall, leading to
high vertical stresses in the static solid, which would then reach a failure condition for a granular
body, so that the solid would cease to be stationary). The vertical stress in the static solid cannot
Rotter
91
be regarded as so uniform as that in the flowing solid, since the solid has considerable stiffness.
However, horizontal equilibrium across the internal flow channel boundary dictates that the
pressure and shear on the boundary are equal on both sides. Thus, the frictional drag force on
the static solid from the flowing material is not dependent on the lateral pressure ratio (it is
already defined above), so only the ratio of the horizontal pressure on the wall to the mean
vertical stress in the solid q
s
is needed. In this simplified theory, this is again taken as the
material parameter K, which is perhaps more justifiable here than it was for the flowing solid.

The equation of vertical equilibrium of a slice through the static solid may now be written:
A
s

dq
s
dz
+ q
s
µ
w
KU
wc
= γA
c
+ µ
sc
U
sc
p
hco
( ) 1 − e
-z/z
oc
(17)
Solving this equation, the pressure on the silo wall in the static solid zone (Fig. 2) is also found
to depend on the depth z below the equivalent solid surface and may be found as:
p
hse
= p
hso

1+w + wue
-z/z
oc
− (1+w+wu)e
-z/z
os

(18)
with the wall frictional traction at depth z as:
p
wse
= µ p
hse
= µ p
hso

1+w + wue
-z/z
oc
− (1+w+wu)e
-z/z
os

(19)
in which:
p
hso
= γ Κ z
os
(20)
z
os
=
1
K

A
s
U
ws
µ
(21)
w =
\

|
.
|
|
A
c
A
s

\

|
.
|
| U
sc
sinφ
i
U
wc
µ + U
sc
tanφ
i
(22)
u =
z
oc
z
oc
+ z
os
(23)
The assumptions made up to this point are relatively easy to justify. There remains some
uncertainty about the distribution of pressures within the static solid. In particular, there is a
good case for the proposition that the wall pressures in the static material near the boundary of
the flow channel may take elevated values, as assumed by Wood /1983/ and Rotter /1986/ and as
shown by Chen /1996/. However, the extent of increased pressures in this zone is difficult to
determine, and calculations that adopt higher pressures here quickly give rise to severe demands
on the structural design. Some further discussion of this was given by Rotter /1986/. However,
until a more definitive pressure increase in this area can be established, it seems best to assume
that the pressure acting on the wall in the static region is constant.
Finally, it should be noted that global horizontal equilibrium of a slice at any level
(corresponding to the integral of the normal pressures against the wall in any direction) need not
be satisfied since the stored solid is itself subject to unbalanced horizontal shears on horizontal
planes which can generally satisfy horizontal equilibrium if an appropriate distribution is
assumed.
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
92
3 STRUCTURAL CONSEQUENCES
3.1 Example structure
The unsymmetrical pattern of wall pressures defined above for the condition of eccentric
discharge induce a relatively complex pattern of stresses within the structure. The stress
resultant pattern cannot, in general, be written as a neat set of closed-form relations, even when
semi-membrane theory /Greiner, 1984/ is used. The patterns of stress depend on the silo aspect
ratio, boundary conditions, changes of plate thickness, placement of ring stiffeners and other
factors. However, the consequences of these pressure patterns are explored here using example
structures.

The unstiffened steel silo shown in Fig. 5 was designed for flyash, according to the European
standards ENV 1991-4 /1995/ for silo loads and ENV 1993-4-1 /1999/ for the silo structure,
accounting for the variability of wheat properties, consistent material properties for specific load
cases, the effect of pressurisation on buckling strength and appropriate partial factors. It is
supposed here that an accidental eccentric discharge event has occurred near the base, with a
vertical flow channel developing near the wall. The dimensions of this channel are a little to
predict with certainty at the present time, so several channel sizes were explored. The silo was
analysed as a shell structure under non-symmetric loading using a linear finite element analysis
/Rotter, 1989/, and assuming the pressure distribution of Fig. 2.


0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
35000
40000
-2500 -2000 -1500 -1000 -500 0
Meridional SR in wall (kN/m)
H
e
i
g
h
t

a
b
o
v
e

b
a
s
e

x


(
m
m
)
Total vertical wall force incl patch (max friction)
Discharge vertical wall force (max friction)
Discharge vertical wall force (max pressure)

Fig. 6 Meridional membrane SR (factored symmetric loads: tension positive)
Rotter
93
3.2 Stresses due to symmetrical loads (no eccentric discharge)
Under symmetrical loading, wall friction causes the axial compression in the wall to grow with
depth (Fig. 6), so a progressive increase in wall thickness is required at greater depths (Fig. 5).
The changing thickness means that the axial compressive stress resultant and the axial
compressive stress look a little different in pattern (Figs 6 and 7). The design is controlled by
considerations of buckling under axial compression. The internal pressure in the silo raises the
axial compression buckling resistance, permitting lighter structures if proper account is taken of
this effect. Some care should be exercised to ensure that a single design situation is addressed
/Rotter, 2001/. The ratio of design resistance to design calculated stress resultant in the silo wall,
according to Eurocode 4 Part 4.1 /ENV1993-4-1 1999/ is shown in Fig. 8, where the effect of
including or ignoring the strengthening effect of internal pressure is also shown to be substantial.
It should be noted that, because the axial compression increases progressively down the silo
wall, the critical points for buckling strength assessment are all immediately above a change of
plate thickness (Fig. 5), here termed the base of a strake.


0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
35000
40000
-120 -100 -80 -60 -40 -20 0
Meridional membrane stress in wall (MPa)
H
e
i
g
h
t

a
b
o
v
e

b
a
s
e


x

(
m
m
)
Total vertical wall stress incl patch (max friction)
Discharge vertical wall stress (max friction)
Discharge vertical wall stress (max pressure)


Fig. 7 Meridional membrane stress (factored symmetric loads: tension positive)
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
94
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
35000
40000
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
Ratio of design resistance to design SR
D
e
p
t
h

b
e
l
o
w

e
f
f
e
c
t
i
v
e

s
u
r
f
a
c
e


z

(
m
m
)
Including pressure NxRd,p/NxSd
Excluding pressure NxRd,o/NxSd


Fig. 8 Ratio of design resistance to design axial compression (symmetric loads)
0.00
0.01
0.02
0.03
0.04
0.05
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
Circumferential coordinate (degrees)
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

a
g
a
i
n
s
t

w
a
l
l

(
M
P
a
)
x coord = 50
x coord = 5500
x coord = 14500
x coord = 18100
x coord = 21700
x coord = 25300
x coord = 35050


Fig. 9 Circumferential pressure variation at the base of each strake
Rotter
95
3.3 Stress resultants in the wall under eccentric discharge
As an initial example, a flow channel with eccentricity e
e
=4500mm with a corresponding radius
r
c
=1860mm was analysed. The analysis was conducted using unfactored loads, to investigate the
probability of failure occurring in service. The pressure patterns at different levels are shown in
Fig. 9. The resulting membrane axial stress resultant (tensile positive) varies around the
circumference at any level, and some example levels are shown in Fig. 10. The compressive
stresses are the most significant, and the large stress resultants developing near the silo base are
not important because the wall there is so thick (20mm). The highest compressive stress
resultant develops in the thinnest strake (6mm), and buckling is most likely in this example
problem at the height of 25m. The vertical variation of vertical membrane stress resultant is
shown in Fig. 11, where the compressive stress resultant peaks at over 5500 N/mm, which
compares with the uniform stress design buckling resistance /ENV1993-4-1 1999/, including
allowance for internal pressure (Fig. 6) of 317 N/mm. It is clear that this stress resultant is not
merely greater than the simple buckling criterion, but massively greater. However, the location
of the potential buckle, quite high on the silo wall, is very clear in Fig. 11.


-6000
-4000
-2000
0
2000
4000
6000
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
Circumferential coordinate θ (degrees)
M
e
m
b
r
a
n
e

s
t
r
e
s
s

r
e
s
u
l
t
a
n
t


(
N
/
m
m
)
x coord = 25300
x coord = 21700
x coord = 18100
x coord = 14500
x coord = 5500


Fig. 10 Circumferential variation of vertical membrane stress resultant at base of each strake
(tensile positive)
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
96
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
35000
40000
-10000 -5000 0 5000 10000 15000
Membrane stress resultant (N/mm)
H
e
i
g
h
t

a
b
o
v
e

b
a
s
e


x


(
m
m
)
Circumferential coordinate 0 degrees
Circumferential coordinate 30 degrees


Fig. 11 Vertical variation of vertical membrane stress resultant down two meridians (tensile
positive)

Most researchers concerned with eccentric discharge considered that circumferential bending
stresses would be the dominant structural concern /Jenike, 1967/ Haydl, 1983/ Roberts and
Ooms, 1983/ Wood, 1983/. The circumferential bending moments are shown in Fig. 12, with the
full plastic moment of the wall (assuming σ
Y
=250MPa) at each level marked for comparison.
The circumferential bending moments are high at the centre of the channel, and full plasticity is
considerably exceeded down much of the wall, with points below each change of plate thickness
being most affected (i.e. in the thicker plate). However, if these stresses are responsible for
failures, such a pattern suggests that a full folding mechanism down the silo height should be
seen in silos failing under eccentric discharge. Instead local compression buckles are seen
(Fig. 3), indicating that the axial compressive stress is more important. Much more information
concerning the stress patterns developing under this eccentric discharge pressure distribution are
available, but space limitations restrict what can be shown here.
Rotter
97
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
35000
40000
-50000 -45000 -40000 -35000 -30000 -25000 -20000 -15000 -10000 -5000 0
Bending moment (Nmm/mm)
H
e
i
g
h
t

a
b
o
v
e

b
a
s
e


x


(
m
m
)
Circumferential bending moment
Full plastic moment


Fig. 12 Vertical variation of circumferential bending moments down centre of channel (tensile
stresses positive on outer surface)
3.4 Effect of different flow channel positions and dimensions
At present, it is difficult to predict the size of a flow channel that may form in discharging solids
from silos, and there is evidence that the flow channel size depends on properties of the solid that
are not commonly measured /Zhong et al 2001/. Where eccentric discharge does occur, the flow
channel size may vary from time to time, so some structurally damaging events may be unusual.

A small flow channel develops very low pressures within it, but it has only a small perimeter in
contact with the wall. As a result, it has a smaller effect on the structure, and does not present a
serious buckling possibility. A very large flow channel has pressures within it that are much
closer to the static zone pressures, so the pressure difference is small and lower stresses are
induced within the structure. However, between these two conditions, moderate size flow
channels can be very damaging.

The same calculations were performed on the same example structure for a range of different
eccentricities of the flow channel. The maximum compressive vertical membrane stress
resultant almost always occurs in the thinnest plate for all channel sizes. The peak value is
shown in Fig. 13. It is evident that moderate eccentricities (with the centre of the channel at
about 0.7 of the radius) lead to a clearly definable worst case.

Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
98
-7000
-6000
-5000
-4000
-3000
-2000
-1000
0
0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
Dimensionless channel eccentricity e
e
/r
P
e
a
k

m
e
r
i
d
i
o
n
a
l

m
e
m
b
r
a
n
e

S
R


(
N
/
m
m
)
Top strake (6 mm)
Second strake (8mm)


Fig. 13 Effect of changing the channel eccentricity on the peak vertical membrane stress
resultant (tensile positive)

The high values of the stress resultants shown in the above figures demonstrate that this design
(undertaken for symmetrical loads) would not be safe against the design situation of an eccentric
discharge channel developing. Moreover the margin by which the resistance is exceeded shows
that the failure would probably be catastrophic. This matches the test findings of Rotter et al
/1989/ who filled model silos to different levels and then eccentrically discharged them. At low
filling levels, no failure occurred, but at a critical level a buckling failure was caused. If this
critical level was greatly exceeded, the buckling failure was similar but was very dramatic and
usually catastrophic.
4 CRITERION OF FAILURE
The high local axial compressive stresses seen in Figs 10 and 11 may certainly lead to buckling
failures. However, the only buckling strength evaluation that applies directly to this situation
appears to the method devised by Rotter /1986/, based on concepts derived from the ECCS
/1988/ Recommendations, the work of Libai and Durban /1977/ and Rotter /1985/. This method
has since been adopted into the European standard for silo structures /ENV 1993-4-1, 1999/. The
peaked compressive stress pattern shown in Fig. 10 is first characterised to assess how localised
it is. The effect of non-uniformity of the axial compression stress around the circumference is
represented by the parameter ψ, which is determined from the linear elastic stress distribution of
acting axial compressive stress distribution σ
xE
.

Rotter
99
The design value of the axial compressive stress at the circumferential position where it is
highest is defined as σ
xoEd
, located at the circumferential coordinate θ
o
. The design value of the
axial compressive stress at a point at the same axial coordinate, but separated from the point in
question by the circumferential distance r∆θ
g
is found as σ
xgEd
. The circumferential distance
r∆θ
g
is defined in Eurocode 3 Part 4.1 as:
r∆θ
g
= 4 rt (24)
but this may be found to be quite a large distance when the procedure is applied to highly
localised stress conditions. A better choice is then to select the angular separation ∆θ
g
at a point
such that the stress σ
xgEd
is about half the value of the maximum stress σ
xoEd
. The separation
∆θ
g
should always be chosen so that:
0.2 σ
xoEd
< σ
xgEd
< 0.8 σ
xoEd
(25)
This leads to a better conditioned evaluation of the equivalent harmonic n than the codified
procedure.

The equivalent harmonic of the stress distribution is then obtained as:
n =
1
∆θ
g
cos
-1

\

|
.
|
| σ
xgEd
σ
xoEd
(26)
where ∆θ
g
is measured in radians. The imperfection modification factor ψ is then found as:
ψ =
(1 − b
1
n)
(1 + b
2
n)
(27)
in which:
b
1
= 0.5
t
r
(28)
b
2
=
(1−b
1
)
ψ
b
− 1 (29)
and ψ
b
= 0.40 is the value of ψ under conditions of global bending (n=1). The harmonic
localisation at which there is no reduction in buckling strength as a result of imperfections is n


= 1/b
1
.

The value of ψ is then used to amend the assumed imperfection amplitude in a buckling
calculation as:
α
o
=
0.62
1 + 1.91ψ
\

|
.
|
|
w
o
t
1.44
(30)
Pressures, Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids
100
When this procedure is applied to the stress pattern shown in Fig. 10 at the base of the thinnest
strake (25200mm above the base), the equivalent harmonic is found as about n=5.3, and the
imperfection modification factor as ψ=0.10. The effective assumed imperfection thus declines to
approximately 1/10 of its original value for such a localised condition, and the unpressurised
imperfection factor α
o
rises from 0.169 to 0.487. This increases the design value of the
resistance stress resultant from 111 N/mm for uniform axial compression (without
pressurisation) to a localised value of 321 N/mm at the peak axial compression. Whilst this
permitted increased resistance is far from the required 5500 N/mm in Fig. 10, it can now be used
to increase the design cylinder wall thickness to achieve a safe design. However, it is clear that
extensive strengthening of the above example silo is necessary to prevent a buckling failure.
Silos of relatively slender geometry, as in this example, as particularly susceptible to buckling
failures under eccentric discharge.
5 CONCLUSIONS
This paper has addressed the problem of eccentric discharge of solids from cylindrical metal
silos, considering both the loads acting on the structure and the structural response to them. The
relationships between the loading, the patterns of stress development in the structure, and the
mechanisms of failure have been explored.

A rational analysis has been presented of the pressures occurring in a parallel-sided flow channel
adjacent to a silo wall. This analysis satisfies equilibrium at every level and provides a
relationship between the flow channel geometry and the eccentricity of the outlet.

An rather slender example silo structure was next analysed under these pressures, and it was
shown that the resistance to buckling under axial compression was greatly exceeded. The critical
location was shown to be far up the silo wall, where high local axial compressive stress
resultants develop in the path of the flowing solid. Both the location and the severity of the
failure match field and laboratory experience in which buckling failures occur well up the wall at
the onset of eccentric discharge, and are often catastrophic.

The example structure, designed for symmetrical loading according to Eurocode 1 Part 4 and
Eurocode 3 Part 4.1, was found to be wholly inadequate to resist the eccentric discharge event.
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they assumed that circumferentially non-uniform pressures simply gave rise to circumferential tensions and bending moments. Rotter et al /1990/ and Rotter /2001/. even if the solids flow patterns cannot be predicted with certainty. The results applied to some example structures. 1983/ Johnston and Hunt. but the rule there is empirically based on a limited number of the above experiments. This may be substantially true for many reinforced concrete silos. Rotter /1986/. 1978/ Emanuel et al. 1983/ Haydl. ACI ADP /1989/. 1983/ Roberts and Ooms. This can be used to achieve safe practical design calculations that represent a possible loading condition. 1996/. 1983/ Peter. The chief purpose is to define the pressures with useful accuracy for the condition of an eccentric pipe flow against the silo wall. 1985/ Hampe. McLean and Arnold /1982/ Johnston and Hunt /1983/. As a result. 1 Cylindrical silo with eccentric discharge of stored solids Fig. 1991/ were concerned only with the silo wall acting as a ring at any given level. 2 Pressure pattern for eccentric discharge: typical cross-section The correlation between the above proposed pressure distributions and the experimental observations is not always close. Wood /1983/. The pressure distribution of Rotter /1986/ differs from the other proposals in that it is based on sound mechanics and satisfies overall static equilibrium. Static pressures Static solid Flow channel Pressure values vary with depth in the silo phse Static solid θc phce θ Flow channel pressures Fig. 3). Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids discharge pressure patterns was given by Nielsen /1998/. where the damage certainly appears to be related to buckling phenomena (Fig. 1983/ Bodarski et al. The only standard for silo pressures that defines a pattern of pressures for eccentric discharge is the Australian Standard /AS3774. The approach has been adopted in the American Concrete Institute proposals /ACI ADP. Most earlier descriptions of the structural consequences of eccentric discharge pressures /Jenike. Proposals for pressure distributions that were similar in kind were made by Jenike /1967/. this assumption is inappropriate for thin-walled metal silos. Roberts and Ooms /1983/. A practical outline is given in Rotter /2001/. but no suggestions appear to have been made yet which do correlate closely with experiments. Emanuel et al /1983/. Here. 1989/ and is under discussion for adoption into Eurocode 1 Part 4. the pressure theory of Rotter /1986/ is outlined and slightly simplified. which usually have little vertical bending strength because there is little vertical reinforcement. 1983/ Wood. However. 86 .Pressures. 1967/ Jenkyn.

1999/. However. In this paper. and a resulting pressure distribution of the form shown in Fig. 1986. The following development follows the same model. 1989/. but with a more careful assessment of the resulting pressures. 1985. the assessed eccentric discharge pressures are applied to a typical metal silo. The flow channel is assumed to have parallel vertical walls here. 1980/ Jumikis et al. Only a few advisory documents for designers have drawn attention to buckling as the principal consequence of eccentric discharge /Buchert. 2. a more general version with a tapering flow channel can be developed using numerical procedures. The most critical design consideration is found to be buckling under axial compression. 1967/ Rotter. 1986/ Rotter et al.Rotter Fig. and a suitable ultimate stress assessment procedure is proposed. 2 2. 3 Typical buckling failure under eccentric discharge It should first be noted that many buckling failures of metal silos under eccentric discharge have been observed in the field. and that this failure mode is confirmed by the few published experiments /Ross et al.1 WALL PRESSURES UNDER ECCENTRIC DISCHARGE Pressures in the Flow Channel Most proposals for the pressures on silo walls during eccentric discharge relate to a flow pattern. 87 . because the resulting pressures can be written in closed form. and the resulting wall stress distributions are examined. 1984.

4 Cross-section through stored solid with eccentric flow channel Fig. This channel is assumed to extend to the solid surface. where: cos θc = r2 + ee2 − rc2 2 r ee (4) The horizontal perimeter of the flow channel is made of two parts. 5 Example flyash silo A cross-section showing the geometry of the channel of flowing solid against the silo wall is shown in Fig. part against the wall and part against the static stored solid. and being bounded by the circumferential coordinates θ = ±θc. 4. Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids Dimensions in mm pl 6 pl 8 pl 25200 21600 18000 12 pl 14400 16 pl 12000 5400 20 pl r θc rc ee δ 36000 10 pl Fig.Pressures. The angle δ is related to the cylinder radius r and flow channel radius rc by: r sin δ = r sin θc c and the eccentricity of the flow channel centre ee is given by: ee = r cos δ . 4.rc cos θc (3) (2) Thus the angular length of the wall contact with the flowing channel is related to the eccentricity of the channel. The moving solid behaves as if its boundaries were the walls of a small silo with cross-sectional area: Ac = (π − δ)rc2 + θcr2 − rrc sin (δ−θc) (1) where the parameters are defined in Fig. The arc length of the contact perimeter between the flow channel and the wall is: Uwc = 2 θc r The arc length of the contact perimeter between the static solid and the wall is: Uws = 2 (π − θc) r (6) (5) 88 .

and the frictional contact between the flowing and static solid may be taken as ideally rough for the solid with µsc = tanφi. and make a relatively small difference to the structural outcome. where φi is the angle of internal friction of the solid.Rotter and the arc length of the contact perimeter between the flow channel and static solid is: Usc = 2 rc (π − δ) (7) The original theory of Rotter /1986/ adopted additional assumptions concerning the lateral pressure ratio that might exist within the flowing and static solid zones. but these are not really necessary in a simplified version. this equation may be solved to give Janssen's equation for the horizontal pressure at depth z in the flowing channel (Fig. 2): phce = phco 1 − e ( -z/zoc ) ( -z/zoc (9) and the frictional traction on the silo wall at depth z as: pwce = µw phce = µw phco 1 − e in which: phco = γ K zoc 1  Ac  zoc = K   Uwc µw + Usc µsc (11) ) (10) (12) The pressure in the flow channel is taken as uniform. so the value against on the interface between the flowing and static solid is taken as identical to that against the wall. 89 . Here. it is supposed that the horizontal pressure p is relatively constant within the flowing channel. The wall friction against the wall is fully mobilised at the wall friction coefficient µw. and that the ratio of this to the mean vertical stress in the flowing material qc is defined by the parameter K. The equation of vertical equilibrium of a slice through the flow channel may now be written: dqc Ac dz + qc(µwKUwc + µscKUwc) = γAc where: (8) γ µw µsc K is the unit weight of the stored solid is the wall friction coefficient for solid against the cylindrical wall is the wall friction coefficient for solid against itself is the lateral pressure ratio for the stored solid in which qc is the mean vertical pressure in the flow channel at depth z. which is taken as a material constant. Subject to the boundary condition that the pressure is zero at the equivalent surface.

It can be argued that this geometry will naturally arise because if there is a local perturbation where this condition is not satisfied. with the angle δ close to zero for very rough walls (i. If the radius rc is fixed. which would then reach a failure condition for a granular body. (14) (13) 2. It is rather tedious to have to solve this transcendental equation for all possible values of the parameters. the weight of the small element of solid and the frictional drag on its boundary will exceed the resistance to flow. the value of the geometric parameters ee. leading to high vertical stresses in the static solid. This minimum corresponds to maximising the ratio of Ac to (Uwcµw+Uscµsc). so that the solid would cease to be stationary). or maximising the value of zoc. 4. but the numerical outcomes are similar.e. 4) is: As = πr2 − Ac and its contact perimeter with the cylindrical silo wall is: Uws = 2 (π − θc) r whilst that against the flow channel is still Ucs. The condition under which this occurs depends on whether the flow channel eccentricity ee or its radius rc is assumed to be determined by other factors.3 Pressures in the Static Solid The static solid is in a state of static equilibrium. Using this condition. The horizontal stress in the static solid must vary from one point and direction to another: the value normal to the static-flow channel interface must be equal to the value in the flow channel. 2001) by estimating the flow channel radius rc as: rc = r {1 − E [E + η(1−E)]} in which E = ee/r and η = µw/µsc. and the result can be reasonably accurately approximated (Rotter. δ and θc for the flow channel can be found. whilst that against the cylinder wall must be much higher to permit static equilibrium of this mass of solid (a low wall pressure would cause low frictional tractions on the wall. and the boundary position will move to satisfy the condition. the criterion leads to the condition: cosθc  cosθc   cos(δ-θc)cosθc  y = [θc+(π-δ)by]1− +bcos(δ-θc)− [(π-δ)b2+θc−bsin(δ-θc)]1−  cosδ  cosδ cosδ     in which b = rc/r and y = µsc/µw.2 Flow Channel Geometry In Rotter’s /1986/ theory. The vertical stress in the static solid cannot (16) (15) 90 . Its cross-sectional area (Fig. The flow channel geometries have the general form shown in Fig. the flow channel forms internally if the wall is very rough). but adopting a value of about 50° for highly eccentric channels with ideally smooth walls. it is assumed that the flow channel adopts a geometry that will maximise the weight of each elemental slice whilst minimising the frictional drag from the channel sides. and rising with falling channel eccentricity.Pressures. Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids 2.

Some further discussion of this was given by Rotter /1986/.Rotter be regarded as so uniform as that in the flowing solid. and calculations that adopt higher pressures here quickly give rise to severe demands on the structural design. However. it should be noted that global horizontal equilibrium of a slice at any level (corresponding to the integral of the normal pressures against the wall in any direction) need not be satisfied since the stored solid is itself subject to unbalanced horizontal shears on horizontal planes which can generally satisfy horizontal equilibrium if an appropriate distribution is assumed. The equation of vertical equilibrium of a slice through the static solid may now be written: dqs -z/z As dz + qsµwKUwc = γAc + µscUsc phco 1 − e oc ( ) (17) Solving this equation. it seems best to assume that the pressure acting on the wall in the static region is constant. 2) is also found to depend on the depth z below the equivalent solid surface and may be found as: -z/z -z/z phse = phso 1+w + wue oc − (1+w+wu)e os    (18) with the wall frictional traction at depth z as: -z/zoc -z/z  − (1+w+wu)e os  pwse = µ phse = µ phso 1+w + wue  (19) in which: phso = γ Κ zos 1 As zos = K Uws µ Usc sinφi  Ac  w = A     s Uwc µ + Usc tanφi zoc u = z +z oc os (20) (21) (22) (23) The assumptions made up to this point are relatively easy to justify. the frictional drag force on the static solid from the flowing material is not dependent on the lateral pressure ratio (it is already defined above). which is perhaps more justifiable here than it was for the flowing solid. There remains some uncertainty about the distribution of pressures within the static solid. Thus. the pressure on the silo wall in the static solid zone (Fig. However. 91 . the extent of increased pressures in this zone is difficult to determine. horizontal equilibrium across the internal flow channel boundary dictates that the pressure and shear on the boundary are equal on both sides. until a more definitive pressure increase in this area can be established. so only the ratio of the horizontal pressure on the wall to the mean vertical stress in the solid qs is needed. as assumed by Wood /1983/ and Rotter /1986/ and as shown by Chen /1996/. Finally. this is again taken as the material parameter K. there is a good case for the proposition that the wall pressures in the static material near the boundary of the flow channel may take elevated values. In this simplified theory. In particular. since the solid has considerable stiffness. However.

even when semi-membrane theory /Greiner. However. The stress resultant pattern cannot. It is supposed here that an accidental eccentric discharge event has occurred near the base. 2. consistent material properties for specific load cases. the consequences of these pressure patterns are explored here using example structures. so several channel sizes were explored.1 STRUCTURAL CONSEQUENCES Example structure The unsymmetrical pattern of wall pressures defined above for the condition of eccentric discharge induce a relatively complex pattern of stresses within the structure. in general. be written as a neat set of closed-form relations. 5 was designed for flyash. 1984/ is used. The silo was analysed as a shell structure under non-symmetric loading using a linear finite element analysis /Rotter. 40000 Total vertical wall force incl patch (max friction) 35000 Height above base x (mm) 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 -2500 Discharge vertical wall force (max friction) Discharge vertical wall force (max pressure) -2000 -1500 -1000 -500 0 Meridional SR in wall (kN/m) Fig. Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids 3 3. boundary conditions. and assuming the pressure distribution of Fig. with a vertical flow channel developing near the wall. The dimensions of this channel are a little to predict with certainty at the present time. placement of ring stiffeners and other factors. 6 Meridional membrane SR (factored symmetric loads: tension positive) 92 . accounting for the variability of wheat properties.Pressures. The unstiffened steel silo shown in Fig. The patterns of stress depend on the silo aspect ratio. 1989/. changes of plate thickness. according to the European standards ENV 1991-4 /1995/ for silo loads and ENV 1993-4-1 /1999/ for the silo structure. the effect of pressurisation on buckling strength and appropriate partial factors.

6). 5).Rotter 3. Some care should be exercised to ensure that a single design situation is addressed /Rotter. so a progressive increase in wall thickness is required at greater depths (Fig. here termed the base of a strake. 40000 Total vertical wall stress incl patch (max friction) 35000 Discharge vertical wall stress (max friction) Height above base x (mm) 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 -120 Discharge vertical wall stress (max pressure) -100 -80 -60 -40 -20 0 Meridional membrane stress in wall (MPa) Fig. the critical points for buckling strength assessment are all immediately above a change of plate thickness (Fig. The ratio of design resistance to design calculated stress resultant in the silo wall. 8. where the effect of including or ignoring the strengthening effect of internal pressure is also shown to be substantial.2 Stresses due to symmetrical loads (no eccentric discharge) Under symmetrical loading. 2001/. wall friction causes the axial compression in the wall to grow with depth (Fig. The changing thickness means that the axial compressive stress resultant and the axial compressive stress look a little different in pattern (Figs 6 and 7). permitting lighter structures if proper account is taken of this effect. because the axial compression increases progressively down the silo wall. 7 Meridional membrane stress (factored symmetric loads: tension positive) 93 . according to Eurocode 4 Part 4. 5). The internal pressure in the silo raises the axial compression buckling resistance.1 /ENV1993-4-1 1999/ is shown in Fig. The design is controlled by considerations of buckling under axial compression. It should be noted that.

8 Ratio of design resistance to design axial compression (symmetric loads) 0.o/NxSd Fig.5 3.05 Pressure against wall (MPa) 0.03 x coord = 50 x coord = 5500 x coord = 14500 x coord = 18100 x coord = 21700 x coord = 25300 x coord = 35050 0.Pressures.5 1.0 Ratio of design resistance to design SR Including pressure NxRd.0 2.01 0.00 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 Circumferential coordinate (degrees) Fig.04 0. Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids 0 Depth below effective surface z (mm) 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 40000 0.p/NxSd Excluding pressure NxRd.5 2.0 0.02 0.0 1. 9 Circumferential pressure variation at the base of each strake 94 .

the location of the potential buckle. 11. The compressive stresses are the most significant. 6000 Membrane stress resultant (N/mm) 4000 x coord = 25300 x coord = 21700 x coord = 18100 x coord = 14500 x coord = 5500 2000 0 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 -2000 0 10 20 30 40 50 -4000 -6000 Circumferential coordinate θ (degrees) Fig. which compares with the uniform stress design buckling resistance /ENV1993-4-1 1999/. The highest compressive stress resultant develops in the thinnest strake (6mm). 10 Circumferential variation of vertical membrane stress resultant at base of each strake (tensile positive) 95 . where the compressive stress resultant peaks at over 5500 N/mm. It is clear that this stress resultant is not merely greater than the simple buckling criterion. The pressure patterns at different levels are shown in Fig.Rotter 3. quite high on the silo wall. and buckling is most likely in this example problem at the height of 25m. 10. but massively greater. The resulting membrane axial stress resultant (tensile positive) varies around the circumference at any level. 9. 11. to investigate the probability of failure occurring in service. and the large stress resultants developing near the silo base are not important because the wall there is so thick (20mm). is very clear in Fig. However. 6) of 317 N/mm. a flow channel with eccentricity ee=4500mm with a corresponding radius rc=1860mm was analysed. and some example levels are shown in Fig. including allowance for internal pressure (Fig.3 Stress resultants in the wall under eccentric discharge As an initial example. The vertical variation of vertical membrane stress resultant is shown in Fig. The analysis was conducted using unfactored loads.

Much more information concerning the stress patterns developing under this eccentric discharge pressure distribution are available. with points below each change of plate thickness being most affected (i. in the thicker plate). but space limitations restrict what can be shown here. if these stresses are responsible for failures.Pressures. and full plasticity is considerably exceeded down much of the wall. 1983/. 96 . 1967/ Haydl. Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids 40000 35000 Circumferential coordinate 0 degrees Height above base x (mm) 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 -10000 -5000 0 Circumferential coordinate 30 degrees 5000 10000 15000 Membrane stress resultant (N/mm) Fig. The circumferential bending moments are shown in Fig. 11 Vertical variation of vertical membrane stress resultant down two meridians (tensile positive) Most researchers concerned with eccentric discharge considered that circumferential bending stresses would be the dominant structural concern /Jenike. 1983/ Roberts and Ooms. The circumferential bending moments are high at the centre of the channel.e. 1983/ Wood. However. with the full plastic moment of the wall (assuming σY=250MPa) at each level marked for comparison. Instead local compression buckles are seen (Fig. such a pattern suggests that a full folding mechanism down the silo height should be seen in silos failing under eccentric discharge. indicating that the axial compressive stress is more important. 12. 3).

A very large flow channel has pressures within it that are much closer to the static zone pressures. moderate size flow channels can be very damaging. Where eccentric discharge does occur. The same calculations were performed on the same example structure for a range of different eccentricities of the flow channel. The maximum compressive vertical membrane stress resultant almost always occurs in the thinnest plate for all channel sizes. but it has only a small perimeter in contact with the wall. 12 Vertical variation of circumferential bending moments down centre of channel (tensile stresses positive on outer surface) 3.Rotter 40000 Circumferential bending moment 35000 Height above base x (mm) 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 -50000 -45000 -40000 -35000 -30000 -25000 -20000 -15000 -10000 Bending moment (Nmm/mm) Full plastic moment -5000 0 Fig.7 of the radius) lead to a clearly definable worst case. A small flow channel develops very low pressures within it. and there is evidence that the flow channel size depends on properties of the solid that are not commonly measured /Zhong et al 2001/. it has a smaller effect on the structure. so some structurally damaging events may be unusual. 97 . it is difficult to predict the size of a flow channel that may form in discharging solids from silos. 13. It is evident that moderate eccentricities (with the centre of the channel at about 0.4 Effect of different flow channel positions and dimensions At present. The peak value is shown in Fig. so the pressure difference is small and lower stresses are induced within the structure. and does not present a serious buckling possibility. As a result. the flow channel size may vary from time to time. However. between these two conditions.

Moreover the margin by which the resistance is exceeded shows that the failure would probably be catastrophic. based on concepts derived from the ECCS /1988/ Recommendations. 98 . 13 Effect of changing the channel eccentricity on the peak vertical membrane stress resultant (tensile positive) The high values of the stress resultants shown in the above figures demonstrate that this design (undertaken for symmetrical loads) would not be safe against the design situation of an eccentric discharge channel developing. the work of Libai and Durban /1977/ and Rotter /1985/.9 1 Dimensionless channel eccentricity e e /r Top strake (6 mm) Second strake (8mm) Fig. Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids 0 Peak meridional membrane SR (N/mm) -1000 -2000 -3000 -4000 -5000 -6000 -7000 0. At low filling levels. This method has since been adopted into the European standard for silo structures /ENV 1993-4-1. the buckling failure was similar but was very dramatic and usually catastrophic. but at a critical level a buckling failure was caused.4 0. 1999/. If this critical level was greatly exceeded. The effect of non-uniformity of the axial compression stress around the circumference is represented by the parameter ψ. This matches the test findings of Rotter et al /1989/ who filled model silos to different levels and then eccentrically discharged them. The peaked compressive stress pattern shown in Fig.6 0. the only buckling strength evaluation that applies directly to this situation appears to the method devised by Rotter /1986/. However.5 0. no failure occurred. 10 is first characterised to assess how localised it is.8 0. which is determined from the linear elastic stress distribution of acting axial compressive stress distribution σxE.7 0. 4 CRITERION OF FAILURE The high local axial compressive stresses seen in Figs 10 and 11 may certainly lead to buckling failures.Pressures.

located at the circumferential coordinate θo.1 as: r∆θg = 4 rt (24) but this may be found to be quite a large distance when the procedure is applied to highly localised stress conditions. The design value of the axial compressive stress at a point at the same axial coordinate. A better choice is then to select the angular separation ∆θg at a point such that the stress σxgEd is about half the value of the maximum stress σxoEd.2 σxoEd < σxgEd < 0.5 (1−b1) t r −1 (1 − b1n) (27) (28) b2 = ψb (29) and ψb = 0.44 1 + 1.62 wo1.91ψ  t    (30) 99 .Rotter The design value of the axial compressive stress at the circumferential position where it is highest is defined as σxoEd. The harmonic localisation at which there is no reduction in buckling strength as a result of imperfections is n∞ = 1/b1. The value of ψ is then used to amend the assumed imperfection amplitude in a buckling calculation as: αo = 0.8 σxoEd (25) This leads to a better conditioned evaluation of the equivalent harmonic n than the codified procedure. The imperfection modification factor ψ is then found as: ψ = (1 + b n) 2 in which: b1 = 0. The separation ∆θg should always be chosen so that: 0. The circumferential distance r∆θg is defined in Eurocode 3 Part 4. but separated from the point in question by the circumferential distance r∆θg is found as σxgEd. The equivalent harmonic of the stress distribution is then obtained as: n = σxgEd cos-1   ∆θg σxoEd 1 (26) where ∆θg is measured in radians.40 is the value of ψ under conditions of global bending (n=1).

Alternate Design Procedure. Pressure Measured in a 20 m diameter Coal Out-load Silo. ACI. 10. A. However. Sydney. Silos of relatively slender geometry. Mitzel. Silos and Bunkers for Storing Granular Materials. and the imperfection modification factor as ψ=0. Sep. and Midgley.E. The effective assumed imperfection thus declines to approximately 1/10 of its original value for such a localised condition. Standards Association of Australia. Both the location and the severity of the failure match field and laboratory experience in which buckling failures occur well up the wall at the onset of eccentric discharge. Discussion document before ACI Committee 313 on Concrete Bins. 100 . A rational analysis has been presented of the pressures occurring in a parallel-sided flow channel adjacent to a silo wall. Int. and Kaminski. An rather slender example silo structure was next analysed under these pressures. Whilst this permitted increased resistance is far from the required 5500 N/mm in Fig. AS 3774-1996 (1996). and the mechanisms of failure have been explored. it can now be used to increase the design cylinder wall thickness to achieve a safe design. on Silos. This analysis satisfies equilibrium at every level and provides a relationship between the flow channel geometry and the eccentricity of the outlet. Symp. Conf. Australian Standard. and it was shown that the resistance to buckling under axial compression was greatly exceeded.. The example structure. and are often catastrophic. as particularly susceptible to buckling failures under eccentric discharge. G..3. This increases the design value of the resistance stress resultant from 111 N/mm for uniform axial compression (without pressurisation) to a localised value of 321 N/mm at the peak axial compression.487. Detroit. October. 6 REFERENCES ACI 313 ADP (1989). designed for symmetrical loading according to Eurocode 1 Part 4 and Eurocode 3 Part 4. G. (1973). Int. considering both the loads acting on the structure and the structural response to them. as in this example. M. the patterns of stress development in the structure. on Design of Silos for Strength and Flow. Stresses and Buckling in Metal Silos containing Eccentrically Discharging Solids When this procedure is applied to the stress pattern shown in Fig. the equivalent harmonic is found as about n=5. Blight.Pressures. The critical location was shown to be far up the silo wall.169 to 0. Loads on Bulk Solids Containers. Proc.10. Lancaster. Univ. Grain Pressure on Silo Walls with Asymmetric Outflow. was found to be wholly inadequate to resist the eccentric discharge event. The relationships between the loading. (1980).1. where high local axial compressive stress resultants develop in the path of the flowing solid. and the unpressurised imperfection factor αo rises from 0. Banachowicz. D. it is clear that extensive strengthening of the above example silo is necessary to prevent a buckling failure. 5 CONCLUSIONS This paper has addressed the problem of eccentric discharge of solids from cylindrical metal silos. 10 at the base of the thinnest strake (25200mm above the base). 3rd Working Session IASS Committee on Pipes and Tanks. June 25-28.

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