By John Carson and Brian H. Pittenger, Jenike & Johanson; and Joseph Marinelli, Solids Handling Technologies |
To minimize problems associated with handling all types of bulk solids, engineers must adopt a systematic approach to characterizing the flow and mechanical properties of the materials under a variety of operating conditions
Bins, hoppers, feeders, and conveyors handle bulk solids in virtually every industry — from chemicals and pharmaceuticals to power generation and mining. During operation, the behavior of bulk solids in such equipment is not always reliable.
Non-uniform flow can be expensive in terms of inefficient processes, wasted product, and operational nightmares. Predictable flow may be impeded by the formation of an arch or rathole, or fine powders may flood erratically or even uncontrollably.
Armed with information about the flow and granular properties of the material itself, engineers can optimize the selection of storage, feeding, processing and conveying equipment. These same properties can be used to retrofit existing facilities to correct flow problems.
For many engineers, a material’s name, such as polyethylene powder or sodium tripolyphosphate, connotes some useful information about its handling characteristics. While this may be true in a general sense, it is not a reliable tool. Unfortunately, major differences…