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Journal of Food Engineering 61 (2004) 399405 www.elsevier.


Flow property measurement of food powders and sensitivity of Jenikes hopper design methodology to the measured values
J.J. Fitzpatrick


, S.A. Barringer b, T. Iqbal

a Department of Process Engineering, University College, Cork, Ireland Department of Food Science and Technology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1097, USA

Received 30 October 2002; accepted 27 April 2003

Abstract The ow properties and powder physical properties were measured for 13 food powders. The ow properties were measured using shear cell techniques, and the powder physical properties measured were particle size, moisture, bulk and particle densities. The owability of the food powders, as characterised by ow index, varied from easy ow to very cohesive. Particle size and moisture content do aect owability, however there was no strong relationship for trying to relate the owability of the food powders based solely on these physical properties. There was no relationship between measured powder physical properties and their wall friction characteristics. As a result, surface forces between the powder particles, and between particles and the wall surface play an important role in determining the ow nature of the powders, and this is an area requiring research. Jenikes mathematical analysis to determine the minimum hopper angle and opening size for mass ow is the engineering standard practice for designing a hopper. Applying this analysis, using values of the measured food powder ow properties, shows that this can occasionally produce some unexpected values for the hopper opening size. 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction There is a large quantity and variety of food materials produced industrially in powder form, and there is a need for information about their handling and processing characteristics. Powder property measurement is important because these properties intrinsically aect powder behaviour during storage, handling and processing. Powder ow properties are important in handling and processing operations, such as ow from hoppers and silos, transportation, mixing, compression and packaging (Knowlton, Carson, Klinzing, & Yang, 1994; Peleg, 1978). One of the major industrial powder problems is obtaining reliable and consistent ow out of hoppers and feeders without excessive spillage and dust generation. These problems are usually associated with the ow pattern inside the silo. The worst-case scenario is no ow. This can occur when the powder forms a cohesive arch across the opening, which has sucient strength within the arch to be self-supporting. Mass ow is the ideal ow pattern were all the powder is in motion
Corresponding author. Tel.: +353-21-490-3089; fax: +353-21-4270249. E-mail address: (J.J. Fitzpatrick). 0260-8774/$ - see front matter 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S0260-8774(03)00147-X

and moving downwards towards the opening. Funnel ow is where powder starts moving out through a central funnel that forms within the material, after which the powder against the walls collapse and move through the funnel. This process continues until the silo empties or until another no-ow scenario occurs with the development of a stable rathole. Most ow problems are caused by a funnel ow pattern and can be cured by altering the pattern to mass ow (Johanson, 2002; Purutyan, Pittenger, & Carson, 1998). Measurement of powder ow properties is necessary for the design of mass ow hoppers. Jenike pioneered the application of shear cell techniques for measuring powder ow properties. In conjunction with the measured property data, he applied two-dimensional stress analysis in developing a mathematical methodology for determining the minimum hopper angle and hopper opening size for mass ow from conical and wedge shaped hoppers (Jenike, 1964). A hopper is the lower converging section of a silo and the hopper angle is the angle between the converging section and the horizontal. The measured ow properties used in this methodology are the owfunction, the eective angle of internal friction and the angle of wall friction. The owfunction is a plot of the unconned


J.J. Fitzpatrick et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 61 (2004) 399405

failure shear stress

wall yield locus

angle of wall friction normal stress

Fig. 2. Angle of wall friction. Fig. 1. Flowfunctions: easy versus dicult ow.

yield strength of the powder versus major consolidating stress (Fig. 1), and represents the strength developed within a powder when consolidated, which must be overcome in making the powder ow. A owfunction lying towards the bottom of the graph represents easy ow, and more dicult ow is represented as the owfunctions move upwards in an anticlockwise direction. The ow index (c ) is dened as the inverse slope of the owfunction. Jenike used the ow index to classify powder owability with higher values representing easier ow. This was extended by Tomas and Schubert (1979) and is presented in Table 1. The angle of wall friction represents the adhesive strength between the powder and the silo wall material, the higher the angle the more dicult it is to move the powder along the wall surface. It is the angle between the horizontal and a straight-line from the origin intersecting the measured wall yield locus (Prescott, Ploof, & Carson, 1999), as illustrated in Fig. 2. The wall yield locus often has a positive Y -intercept, thus the angle of wall friction will vary with normal stress in the hopper, where it is higher at low stresses. Jenikes mathematical methodology is the engineering standard practice for designing a hopper in terms of calculating the minimum hopper angle and opening size for mass ow. The method consists of the following steps:  Values of eective angle of internal friction and angle of wall friction are used to calculate the hopper angle (h) and the owfactor ().  The critical applied stress (CAS) is then determined from the intersection of the owfunction and the

Fig. 3. Evaluation of CAS (UYS is the ultimate yield strength and MCS is the maximum consolidation stress).

owfactor line, as illustrated in Fig. 3. The owfactor line is a straight-line through the origin with a slope equal to the inverse of .  The hopper opening size is then calculated using values of CAS, hopper angle and bulk density (qB ). For example, the diameter D of the opening for a conical hopper is given by D H h:CAS qB :g

where H is a function of hopper angle and g is the gravitational acceleration constant. The bulk density must correspond to the consolidating stress existing at D.  This method requires some simultaneous calculation as the value of angle of wall friction may vary with the normal stress existing in the collapsing arch at diameter D. The objectives of this paper are To present the measured ow properties of 13 food powders and to classify their owability. To investigate if physical property measurements (particle size, moisture content, bulk and particle density) can be used in comparing the owability of the food powders.

Table 1 Jenike classication of powder owability by ow index (c ) Flowability Flow index (c ) Hardened <1 Very cohesive <2 Cohesive <4 Easy ow <10 Free owing >10

J.J. Fitzpatrick et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 61 (2004) 399405


To investigate the eect of the ow properties on hopper design using Jenikes hopper design methodology for each of the powders.

2. Materials and methods 2.1. Food powders The powders tested were: a ne tea powder (Ceybrite variety from Lipton Soft Drinks, Ireland); powdered sugar (10 X, Kroger Co., Cincinnati, OH, USA); corn starch (Argo, Engelwood Clis, NJ, USA); salt (Morton Salt, Chicago, IL, USA); cellulose powder (Solka Floc, Fiber Sales and Development Corporation, Urbana, OH, USA); 10 DE maltodextrin (Maltrin, Grain Processing Corporation, Muscatine, IA, USA); cocoa powder and tomato powder (, Fort Wayne, IN, USA); all-purpose wheat our (Gold Medal, Minneapolis, MN, USA); defatted soy our (Protein Technologies International, St. Louis, MO, USA); NonFat Milk (NFM) powder (, Walton Feed Inc., ID, USA), and degerminated yellow corn our (Lauho Grain Company, Danville, IL, USA). 2.2. Physical properties Particle size distribution was measured by laser diffraction using the Malvern Mastersizer MSS with powder feeder unit. Moisture content (wet basis) was measured by weighing 3 g of a sample before and after drying in an oven at 105 C for 3 days. Each test was carried out in triplicate. Bulk density was measured using an Engelsmann model A.-G. mechanical tapping device, where the volume of a given mass of powder after 1250 taps was measured to calculate the tapped bulk density. Particle density was measured using a Micromeritis multivolume pycnometer model 1305 whose principle is gas (nitrogen) displacement. 2.3. Flow property measurement by shear cell tests 2.3.1. Flowfunction and eective angle of internal friction The annular shear cell (Fig. 4a) was used for measuring the owfunction and eective angle of internal friction and is the same as that described by Teunou, Fitzpatrick, and Synnott (1999). It has a xed shear rate of 7 mm/min and external and internal diameters of 164 and 120 mm, respectively. A food powder was removed from its package and loaded into the annular shear cell. The annular shear cell was then placed in a chamber, with a temperature of 20 C, where the shear tests for measuring the instantaneous owfunction were conducted. The procedure used to measure the instanta-

Fig. 4. Schematics of (a) annular shear cell used for measuring powder owfunctions, and (b) Jenike shear cell used for measuring angle of wall friction.

neous owfunction is that recommended by the Standard Shear Test Technique (SSTT), using the Jenike shear cell (Institution of Chemical Engineers, 1989). For any owfunction, four yield loci and ve points for each yield locus were obtained. To construct a yield locus, the powder was critically consolidated under a known consolidating stress, and the shear stresses required to cause the powder to fail under four normal stresses, less than the consolidating stress, and at the consolidating stress were measured. A yield locus is a plot of failure shear stress versus normal stress for a given consolidating stress. This is repeated for four dierent consolidating stresses to obtain four yield loci. Every point of the yield locus was repeated three times. A typical yield locus is presented in Fig. 5. The yield locus was tted by the Warren Spring equation s=C n r T =T , where n, also called the shear index, is a measure of curvature of the yield locus. C is the cohesion of the powder and its value corresponds to the intercept of the yield locus on the shear stress axis. It is dened as the shear strength of the powder at zero normal stress. T is the tensile stress and is dened as the force per unit area required to split a compact at zero shear in the plane, its value corresponds to the negative intercept on the abscissa. It is the most valid equation to

Fig. 5. Illustration of a typical powder yield locus along with parameters which may be obtained from it.


J.J. Fitzpatrick et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 61 (2004) 399405

describe the shape of a yield locus (Stainforth & Berry, 1973). Further data analysis was applied to derive the eective angle of internal friction (de ), which is a measure of the friction between particles. From each yield locus, the following two quantities were estimated by two specic Mohr circles unconned yield strength (UYS) the major consolidating stress (MCS) A solver was used to t, by iteration, the data points to the Warren Spring equation and to construct the Mohr circles tangent to the yield locus. A owfunction is a plot of UYS versus MCS. It gives the stress needed to make an arch collapse and make the material ow. 2.3.2. Angle of wall friction The wall yield locus of a powder was measured using a Jenike shear cell (95 mm internal diameter) whereby the cylindrical base of the cell was replaced by a at plate of stainless steel 304 commonly used in food processing, as illustrated in Fig. 4b. The wall yield locus was obtained by measuring the horizontal stress required to make the powder fail at the following normal stresses: 5.9, 4.4, 3.7, 3, 2.3 and 1.6 kPa. The procedure used is that recommended by the SSTT, using the Jenike shear cell (Institution of Chemical Engineers, 1989). Angle of wall friction (/W ) reported is the angle formed with the horizontal by a line drawn from the origin to a point on the wall yield locus with a normal stress of 5.9 kPa.

Fig. 6. Food powder owfunctions.

3. Results and discussion 3.1. Flow properties The measured owfunctions of seven of the food powders tested are presented in Fig. 6. The ow index can be applied to the food powders tested, as the slopes of the owfunctions increase in the anticlockwise direction from the region of easy ow to dicult ow. The ow indexes of all 13 powders are presented in Table 2, along with other ow and physical property data. Of the 13 powders, six are classied as very cohesive; four are cohesive and the remaining three are easy ow. The more dicult ow nature of many of these powders is most likely due to the small particle size of many of the powders and high moisture contents of some of the powders, however there was no signicant relationship between the powder physical properties in Table 2 and the powder ow index, as illustrated in Fig. 7. This shows the diculty in trying to compare the owability of food powders based on their physical properties. Particle size and moisture content should have an eect on powder owability but their eects may be coupled.

For a given powder, reducing particle size tends to reduce owability, because the particle surface area per unit mass increases as particle size decreases providing a greater surface area for surface cohesive forces to interact resulting in more cohesive ow. This can be seen with salt 140 and 200, where decreasing the size increased the cohesiveness of the powder (Table 2). Increasing moisture content tends to make powders more cohesive, however above a certain moisture content, the moisture may act as a lubricant and improve ow. In Table 2, powders with smaller particle size tend to have a smaller ow index, with salt 200 having the smallest size and the second lowest ow index. However, there are a number of notable exceptions that make the correlation weak. The tomato powder has the largest particle size but has the lowest ow index, however this may be explained by its very high moisture content making the powder very cohesive. Likewise, corn our and wheat our have high moisture contents, which may explain their very cohesive character. Salt 140 has a small particle size of 12 lm, but has the highest ow index, and this may be explained by its extremely low moisture content. On the other hand, sugar 140 and salt 140 have nearly the same particle size and moisture content, however their ow indexes are very dierent. This illustrates that, eventhough particle size and moisture content may signicantly aect owability, there are other properties such as surface properties of the particles that are also having a signicant eect. Surface interactions resisting powder ow can be categorised as internal friction and cohesion. Cohesive forces acting between powder particles are mainly due to van der Waals forces and capillary forces associated with liquid bridging (Shamlou, 1988). Due to dierences in composition and physical structure of particles from dierent powders, these surface force interactions may vary from one powder to another. The measured wall yield loci of seven of the food powders are presented in Fig. 8. The wall loci were used to calculate the angle of wall friction (Table 2). There is

J.J. Fitzpatrick et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 61 (2004) 399405 Table 2 Powder ow properties and physical properties (dE is the eective angle of internal friction; /W is the angle of wall friction) Powder Tomato Salt 200 Cocoa Corn our Sugar 140 Wheat our Soy our Corn starch Tea NFM Maltodextrin Cellulose Salt 140 Flow index (c ) 1.1 1.3 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.6 2 2.1 2.6 3.8 4.9 6.1 6.3 dE () 54 65 48 52 51 42 46 42 40 52 48 42 46 /W () 20.7 26.2 17.3 13 19.1 13.2 18.2 14.7 26.6 15.9 19.7 11.8 27.3 Particle size (lm) 320 5.8 7.6 49 12 51 20.5 11.9 25 43 55 43 12 Moisture content (%w/w) 17.8 0.04 4.4 9 0.06 10 6.2 10 6.6 4.6 4.3 5 0.04 Bulk density (kg/m3 ) 890 870 360 730 710 710 600 760 910 690 600 410 1170


Particle density (kg/m3 ) 1490 2210 1450 1490 1610 1480 1430 1510 1570 1310 1390 1550 2200

3.5 3 salt 140 shear stress (kPa) 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 0 2 4 6 normal stress (kPa) tea salt 200 tomato sugar 140 corn starch corn flour

Fig. 8. Food powder wall yield loci.

signicant relationships could be established between powder physical properties and wall friction, and there was no relationship with ow index either. This is due to the increased complexity of having to consider the wall material properties and how they interact with the powder. 3.2. Hopper design The measured angles of wall friction and internal friction for each of the powders were applied in Jenikes methodology to estimate the minimum conical hopper angle for mass ow and the ow factor . The results are presented for each powder in Table 3 in order of decreasing angle of wall friction. The hopper angle varied from 55 to 75. A 70 hopper angle is often used as a rule of thumb for achieving mass ow, however this is insucient for a number of the food powders tested. Alternatively, changing from a conical hopper to a wedge hopper will reduce the hopper angle requirement by 1012 (Marinelli & Carson, 1992). Plotting angle of wall friction versus the calculated minimum hopper angle for each of the powders shows that this has the

Fig. 7. Relationship between physical properties and ow index of the powders: (a) particle size; (b) moisture content; (c) bulk density.

wide variation in values of angles of wall friction for the powders, ranging from around 12 to over 27. No


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Table 3 Evaluation of hopper angle (h) and owfactor for a cylindrical hopper using Jenikes method Powder Salt 140 Tea Salt 200 Tomato Maltodextrin Sugar 140 Soy our Cocoa NFM Corn starch Corn our Wheat our Cellulose dE () 51 40 65 54 48 51 46 48 52 42 52 42 42 /W () 27.3 26.6 26.2 20.7 19.7 19.1 18.2 17.3 15.9 14.7 13 13.2 11.8 h () 75 75 74 67 66 65 64 63 62 59 58 57 55 1.3 1.39 1.15 1.26 1.33 1.31 1.37 1.35 1.31 1.46 1.34 1.47 1.49

dominant eect in determining the minimum hopper angle for mass ow, as illustrated in Fig. 9. Likewise, eective angle of internal friction has the dominant eect on determining . The owfunction and bulk density of each powder were then applied in estimating the CAS value and the minimum size of the hopper opening for a conical hopper. The results are presented for each powder in Table 4 in order of increasing powder ow index. As one might expect, the three most cohesive powders resulted in the greatest hopper opening requirement. The tomato powder produced a no-ow scenario because its owfunction lies above the owfactor line as highlighted by the owfactor being greater than the ow index. For the three next most cohesive powders in Table 4 (corn our, sugar 140 and soya our), the CAS values are very small, eventhough the owfunctions are classied as cohesive or very cohesive powders. The reason why this is occurring is because these owfunctions intersect the UYS axis at points very close to the origin, thus the intersection point between the owfactor line and the owfunction will also be close to the origin resulting in the low CAS value. This highlights a sensitivity of the Jenike procedure to where the owfunction

Fig. 9. Relationship between powder ow properties and hopper angle (h) and ow factor (): (a) Eect of angle of wall friction (/W ) on h; (b) eect of eective angle of internal friction (dE ) on .

intersects the UYS axis. This is more signicant for owfunctions with large slopes (or low ow index), which is the case for more cohesive powders. This is illustrated in Fig. 10 for sugar 140 whereby the value of the owfunction intercept on the UYS axis is varied while maintaining the constant slope of the owfunction. Small variation in this intercept value can lead to signicant changes in CAS and the size of the calculated hopper opening. This must also be considered in the light of the fact that experimental determination of a owfunction is time-consuming and it is dicult to

Table 4 Evaluation of CAS and hopper opening diameter (D) for a cylindrical hopper using Jenikes method Powder Salt 200 Tomato Cocoa Corn our Sugar 140 Wheat our Soy our Corn starch Tea NFM Maltodextrin Cellulose Salt 140 Flow index (c ) 1.2 1.2 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.6 2 2.1 2.6 3.8 4.9 6.1 6.3 Bulk density (kg/m3 ) 0.87 0.89 0.36 0.73 0.71 0.71 0.6 0.76 0.91 0.69 0.6 0.41 1.17 1.15 1.26 1.35 1.34 1.31 1.47 1.37 1.46 1.39 1.31 1.33 1.49 1.3 h () 16 23 27 32 25 33 26 31 15 28 24 35 15 CAS (kPa) 3.36 No ow 0.6 )0.02 0 1.1 0.09 0.21 0.1 )0.23 0.1 0.24 0.34 D (m) 0.88 No ow 0.41 0.17 0.17 0.39 0.2 0.21 0.12 0.18 0.17 0.31 0.1

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Fig. 10. Sensitivity of CAS and D to variation in where the owfunction intercepts the UYS axis for sugar 140 (very cohesive powder). UYS axis intercept value is varied, while slope of owfunction is maintained constant.

achieve reproducibility (de Silva, 2000), thus there is the potential for variability in the shape of the owfunction leading to variability in where the owfunction intersects the UYS axis. On the other hand, some easy-ow powders can produce higher CAS values than expected, for example, the salt 140, which is the easiest ow powder. The owfunction of salt 140 (Fig. 6) is rather at and, when linearly extrapolated, results in a high UYS axis intercept, which gives rise to the relatively high CAS value. The intersection of this owfunction and the owfactor line occurs in the extrapolated region, thus the real owfunction may typically slope down towards to a lower intercept point resulting in a lower CAS value. The net result of this is an overestimate or conservative calculation of CAS and hopper opening diameter.

Wall friction is the most important parameter in determining whether mass or funnel ow is the ow pattern occurring in a hopper, thus it is necessary to always measure wall friction and not rely on other physical property measurements. Jenikes method can sometimes calculate unexpected values for the size of the hopper opening, for example, very cohesive powders requiring very small size hopper openings. The method is sensitive to where the owfunction intersects the UYS axis. If it intersects near the origin, then low values of hopper opening size may be calculated. The sensitivity of the method is further exacerbated by potential variability in the values of measured ow properties, due to diculty in obtaining reliable ow property measurements with high reproducibility. Flat owfunctions, when linearly extrapolated, can sometimes give high owfunction UYS intercept values. This may result in conservatively high values for the hopper opening size, because the real owfunction will most likely curve downwards more towards the origin in the extrapolated region and thus produce a smaller CAS and hopper opening size.

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4. Conclusions The ow properties and powder physical properties were measured for 13 food powders. Powder owability, as characterised by ow index, varied from easy ow to very cohesive, the eective angle of internal friction varied from 40 to 65, and the angle of wall friction (5.9 kPa normal pressure) varied from 12 to 27. Particle size and moisture content do aect owability, however there is no strong relationship for trying to relate the owability of food powders based solely on these physical properties. The surface properties of the particles also have a signicant eect, and the measurement of surface forces and its application to powder owability is an area requiring research. There was no signicant trend between the measured physical properties of the powders and the wall friction characteristics of the powders, thus the surface adhesion forces between the powder particles and the wall surface are dominant.