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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijminpro

Ankit Gupta, Samik Nag , Vilas Tathavadkar

Research and Development, Tata Steel, Jamshedpur, India

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Most of the problems associated with industries handling solids are related to hopper ow. Hoppers may

Received 26 October 2010 develop slow and sluggish zones, commonly known as stagnant zones, leading to funnel ow which reduces

Received in revised form 12 March 2012 the efciency of the process. Modelling can be used to predict the hopper ow based on material properties

Accepted 17 March 2012

and hopper design. We have simulated the ow in a cylindrical hopper and validated it by performing 3D

Available online 17 April 2012

experiments. Further the model is used to investigate the effect of material properties and hopper design.

Keywords:

It was found that stagnant zone size increases with increase in internal friction angle and decrease in ability

Modelling of granular material to transfer load. It is also observed that stagnant zone size decreases as hopper angle is

Process optimization increased. Optimum hopper angle can be calculated from the simulation to minimise hopper height. This

Simulation model can further be used for predicting ow for more complex conditions.

2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

behavior makes the prediction of granular material complex.

Flow of granular materials in hoppers is of importance to all the Various parameters are used to dene characteristics of Granular

engineering processes handling solids. Most of the problems in material material like size, shape, cohesiveness, surface roughness, deformation

handling are related to solid ow within hoppers. Funnel ow is the capability, compaction factor, owability etc. These parameters are

most important phenomenon which creates problems like ooding, derived from specically designed experiments and it is difcult to

segregation etc. Funnel ow takes place due to formation of stagnant extrapolate effect of these parameters in a hopper ow. Flow pattern

zones inside the hopper. Achieving stable material ow without local in a hopper also depends on parameters like wall pressure, hopper

growth of stagnant zones leads to high efciency (Nikacevic and geometry (Weir, 2004; Zugliano, 2008) etc. Mathematical models can

Dudukovic, 2010; Zhang et al., 2002; Faqih, 2007; Johanson, 2002). use granular material properties and hopper geometry to simulate ow.

Stagnant zones and other high solid fraction regions decrease the Modelling of granular ow can be divided into two categories:

effective working volume of the process vessel. Hoppers where lling discrete approach and continuum. Discrete approach involves

and emptying is important, ow characteristics play a critical role. In analysis of motion of individual particles (Guises, 2008). Due to

counter current reactors these regions do not allow gas to pass through, lack of computational capabilities it is very difcult to handle large

reducing the gas utilization. number of particles and run simulations in real time (Zhang et al.,

Prediction of dynamics of granular materials in a moving bed 2002). Solid and uid mechanics principles are applied in continuum

reactor is crucial for its design and operation. Inadequacy of describ- approaches. Satisfactory prediction for the stress eld can be

ing the physics associated with particleparticle granular ow model- obtained through solid mechanics approaches (Jenike et al., 1973;

ing still requires further attention (Choi et al., 2005; Langston et al., Jenike, 1964) but prediction for velocity eld is not satisfactory.

1997). Granular material, like solid, can resist shear force by surface Most of the models based on continuum approach are unable to

friction and cohesion, but beyond a particular level of stress, particles predict stagnant zone prole instead require that as an input

slide against each other. Granular material thus can be considered to (Nedderman and Tuzun, 1995). Model proposed by Zhang et al. (2002)

captures the dual nature of granular material by splitting the surface

shear stress into two terms, rate dependent and rate independent. Rate

dependent part of the surface stress is due to particleparticle kinetic in-

Corresponding author. Tel.: + 91 6576648960; fax: + 91 6572271748. teraction because of collision, dynamic friction etc. whereas rate indepen-

E-mail address: samiknag@tatasteel.com (S. Nag). dent term stems from the particleparticle contact interaction due to

0301-7516/$ see front matter 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.minpro.2012.03.010

136 A. Gupta et al. / International Journal of Mineral Processing 110111 (2012) 135139

Nomenclature

Stokes equation as proposed after splitting of shear stress term can

be written as:

Solid fraction

* Solid fraction under standard loose condition

v

v Velocity vector :vv : rd :ri g 2

t

t Time

Density where is the density, rd rate dependent shear stress, ri rate inde-

rd Rate dependent shear stress pendent shear stress, g gravitational acceleration. Rate dependent

ri Rate independent shear stress term is derived from the viscous stress term as follows:

g Acceleration due to gravity

D Stretching tensor 2

I Identity matrix rd 2D trDI 3

3

Viscosity

Pe Effective pressure where is the viscosity, D stretching tensor, I identity matrix.

Go Constant of effective pressure The rate independent term is derived from the dry Coulomb

c Compaction modulus frictional relation, which can be written as:

dP Diameter of the particle

Co-efcient of plastic modulus D

ri P e I 2 p 4

tr(A) Trace of A square matrix trD2

1 Cohesion constant

2 Friction coefcient where Pe is the effective pressure, coefcient of plastic modulus. The

Angle of internal friction formulation of normal component of the surface stress given by Orr

(1966) is employed to determine the effective pressure, which can

be written as:

Subscript

x Horizontal direction Go

Pe exp 5

y Vertical direction c

density under standard loose condition. Compaction modulus is derived

packing, including normal contact and static shear friction. This model can from the ability of material to transmit force. This varies with factors

predict transition between moving and stagnant zones. such as particle size and space. It can be calculated experimentally.

The present paper is focused to predict solid fraction distribution in a Coefcient of plastic modulus () can be determined by the

cylindrical hopper ow. Model developed by Zhang et al. (2002) is used to following equation (Norem et al., 1987):

predict the granular ow. Effects of material properties and hopper design

are calculated on the hopper ow. Results generated from the simulation 1

p 1 2 P e 6

can be used to optimize the hopper design for required material ow. 2

is given by

The model proposed by Zhang et al. (2002) is based on continuum

mechanics. Continuity equation can be written as:

vy 1

x : vy

2 v

tan 7

:v 0 1 xy : v1y

t Max

Fig. 1. Velocity prole and solid fraction distribution in a at-bottomed hopper. Stagnant zone can be observed at the bottom of the hopper. v is the velocity, vin in the initial

velocity, x is the horizontal direction, y is the vertical direction and d is the orice radius. Simulation parameters glass balls of particle size = 10 3 m, density = 1500 kg/m3,

viscosity = 1.0 kg/m.s, inlet velocity (vin) = 10 2 m/s, inlet solid fraction = 0.5, internal friction angle = 35 o, compaction modulus = 150. a velocity prole and b solid

fraction prole.

A. Gupta et al. / International Journal of Mineral Processing 110111 (2012) 135139 137

vertical direction and d is the orice radius. Simulation parameters glass balls of

particle size = 10 3 m, density = 1500 kg/m3, viscosity = 1.0 kg/m.s, inlet velocity

(vin) = 10 2 m/s, inlet solid fraction = 0.5, internal friction angle = 35o, compaction

modulus = 150.

is dened initially for all the points. Continuity equation (Eq. (1)) is

used to obtain solid fraction distribution from the velocity eld. This

solid fraction is used to obtain pressure from the Eq. (5). This pressure

Fig. 2. 3D cylindrical hopper experimental setup. is in turn used to calculate the new velocity eld from Eq. (2).

Iteration of above mentioned steps continue till steady state velocity

where is the angle of internal friction. Internal friction angle is dened eld is obtained. After reaching the steady state; region having

as the angle which the solid makes with the horizontal while discharging. velocity lower than the critical value is marked as a stagnant zone.

For the purpose of current calculations, Eq. (7) is simplied as Boundary of the stagnant zone is treated as wall for further calcula-

tions. According to Zhang et al. (2002) further iterations are required

2 tan 8 to calculate the nal stagnant zone shape. But for the present condi-

tions of hopper ow without gas ow further iterations are not re-

For solving the equations boundary conditions have to be specied. quired as convergence is achieved in rst iteration itself.

At walls horizontal velocity is assumed to be 0 with vertical velocity is

given by the following equation: 3. Results and discussion

vy 9

0:33 x

Model was tested for various parameters like internal friction angle,

The boundary conditions at the axis of symmetry require that the compaction factor, particle size, density etc. Typical result obtained

gradient of all variables be zero. The inlet and outlet conditions for from the simulation is shown in Fig. 1, where x is the horizontal direc-

solids phase are given. tion, y is the vertical direction and d is the opening radius. As hopper

ow is assumed to be symmetric along centre line, Fig. 1 shows velocity

2.1. Tools and techniques prole on the left side of the centre line and solid fraction prole on the

right side.

Staggered grids and upwinding schemes are used to counter the From the results, formation of stagnant zone and mass spillage

instability problem. For computational simplicity simulation is done over stagnant zone boundary is easily visible. Within the ow zones

only for one half of the hopper and symmetric boundary conditions there are also three regions. Particles initially accelerate with a

are used at the central line. Algorithm used is as follows Velocity corresponding decrease in the solid fraction marked as (a) in Fig. 1.

In the region marked as (b) ow gets converged in a manner similar

to funnel as it moves towards exit. Third region marked as (c), is just

above the stagnant zone having a higher shear ow, and compara-

tively higher solid fraction than the other owing regions.

Stagnant zone is marked as the region where the velocities are less

than the critical value. Solid fraction is quite large in that region as

compared to rest of the hopper.

prole obtained by the simulation. The experimental setup had an

acrylic circular hopper, reservoir and a shutter as shown in Fig. 2.

The hopper had opening at the bottom of the size of half of its diam-

eter. The shutter was used to start and stop the ow from the hopper.

The reservoir supplied the material required for the experiment.

Initially hopper was lled with 1 mm black coloured glass balls keep-

ing the shutter closed. The reservoir was lled with 1 mm non-coloured

glass balls. As soon as shutter was opened glass ball started to ow out.

Fig. 3. Frozen glass balls stagnant zone is distinguishable at the bottom. After steady state was reached the shutter was closed. Gelatin solution

138 A. Gupta et al. / International Journal of Mineral Processing 110111 (2012) 135139

Fig. 5. Velocity prole and solid fraction distribution in a at-bottomed hopper. Stagnant zone becomes smaller in size as stagnant zone becomes more compact. v is the velocity, vin in

the initial velocity , x is the horizontal direction, y is the vertical direction and d is the orice radius. Simulation parameters glass balls of particle size = 10 3 m, density = 1500 kg/m3,

viscosity = 1.0 kg/m.s, inlet velocity (vin)= 10 2 m/s, inlet solid fraction = 0.5, internal friction angle = 35o, compaction modulus= 50. a velocity prole and b solid fraction prole.

was poured from the top and the whole set-up was allowed to freeze. from Figs. 1 and 6. Keeping all other parameters the same, with in-

After the system was frozen whole material was taken out from the crease in internal friction angle from 35o (Fig. 1) to 50 o (Fig. 6) size

acrylic hopper and was cut into half. The stagnant zone was clearly of the stagnant zone increases. This is to be expected, since increase

distinguishable as the boundary of different coloured balls as shown in in internal friction angle is equivalent to more friction between parti-

Fig. 3. The comparison of model results and experimental results is cles, hence smaller relative velocity for a given shear force.

shown in Fig. 4.

4.3. Hopper angle

4. Effect of parameters

As shown in Fig. 7 two inclination angles were selected to obtain

After studying the effects of various parameters following parameters different solid fraction distribution and stagnant zone prole.

were found to have major impact on material ow. Simulation results show that as the hopper angle increases region

having high solid fraction decreases. This allows more material to

4.1. Compaction modulus ow faster and ensures better mixing. Hopper design can be varied

based on the simulation results for the optimum solid fraction distri-

Fig. 5 shows the solid fraction distribution results for compaction bution and minimum stagnant zone size.

modulus 50 which can be compared to the results shown in Fig. 1(b)

considering compaction modulus to be equal to 150. Decrease in com- 5. Summary

paction modulus of a granular material leads to more compact packing

near the stagnant zone whereas more open packing in the ow regions. In this paper effects of material properties and hopper design are

shown for hopper ow. Simulation results are veried by experimental

4.2. Internal friction angle data. This enables study of the ow characteristics of hopper for varying

conditions. Increase in hopper angle decreases the stagnant zone size.

Increase of internal friction angle leads to an increase in the stag- Since for a given volume hopper with higher angle will have more

nant zone angle and thus the size of the stagnant zone. This is apparent height, optimization can be done to minimize the height and maximize

Fig. 6. Velocity prole and solid fraction distribution in a at-bottomed hopper. Increase in stagnant zone size can be observed. v is the velocity, vin in the initial velocity, x is the

horizontal direction, y is the vertical direction and d is the orice radius. Simulation parameters glass balls of particle size = 10 3 m, density = 1500 kg/m3, viscosity = 1.0 kg/m.s,

inlet velocity (vin) = 10 2 m/s, inlet solid fraction = 0.5, internal friction angle = 50o, compaction modulus = 50. a velocity prole and b solid fraction prole.

A. Gupta et al. / International Journal of Mineral Processing 110111 (2012) 135139 139

Fig. 7. (a) Solid fraction proles in hopper with angle 26. (b) Solid fraction proles in hopper with angle 45. As hopper angle increases stagnant zone size decreases. x is the

horizontal direction, y is the vertical direction and d is the orice radius. Simulation parameters glass balls of particle size = 10 3 m, density = 1500 kg/m3,

viscosity = 1.0 kg/m.s, inlet velocity (vin) = 10 2 m/s, inlet solid fraction = 0.5, internal friction angle = 50o, compaction modulus = 50. a velocity prole and b solid fraction

prole.

the ow properties based on simulations results. For existing systems Guises, Romain, 2008. Numerical Simulation and Characterisation of the Packing of

Granular Materials, PhD. Thesis, Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering

simulations can be used to monitor the ow and formation of stagnant Imperial College London.

zones. Flow rates and particle size can be optimized to get stable mate- Jenike, A.W., 1964. Storage and ow of solids. Utah Engineering Experiment Station,

rial ow. This model can also be implemented for complex moving bed Bul., 123. University of Utah.

Jenike, A.W., Johonson, J.R., Carson, J.W., 1973. Bin Loads part 2: concepts. J. Eng. Ind.,

reactors to understand and optimize their designs. ASME 95, 116.

Johanson, J.R., 2002. Troubleshooting Bins, Hoppers and Feeders. Chem. Eng. Prog. CEP,

April, pp. 100112.

Acknowledgements Langston, P.A., Nikitidis, M.S., Tuzun, U., Heyes, D.M., Spyrou, N.M., 1997. Microstruc-

tural simulation and imaging of granular ows in two- and three-dimensional

hoppers. Powder Technol. 94, 5972.

Authors are thankful to Tata Steel management for granting permis- Nedderman, R.M., Tuzun, U., 1995. A kinematic model for the ow of granular mate-

sion for publishing. Authors wish to acknowledge with deep gratitude, rials. Chem. Eng. Sci. 50, 959965.

the valuable guidance we received from Prof. N.N. Viswanathan and Nikacevic, Nikola M., Dudukovic, Milorad P., 2010. Solids ow models for gas owing

solids xed bed contactors. Int. J. Chem. React. Eng. 8, A55.

Prof. N.B. Ballal. Authors also extend gratitude to Mr. Binayak Aich for Norem, H., Irgens, F., Schieldrop, B.A., 1987. A continuum model for calculating snow

his help in the experimental work. avalanches. In: Salm, B., Gubler, H. (Eds.), Avalanche Formation, Movement and Effects:

IAHS Publ., No.162, p. 363.

Orr Jr., C., 1966. Particulate Technology. Macmillan, New York.

Weir, Graham J., 2004. A mathematical model for dilating, non-cohesive granular ows

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M., 2007. A method for predicting hopper ow characteristics of pharmaceutical

powders. Chem. Eng. Sci. 62, 15361542.

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