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Comment PDF Solids Handling

Using Inserts to Address Solids Flow Problems

By Lyn Bates, Ajax Equipment, Ltd.; Shrikant Dhodapkar, The Dow Chemical Co.; George Klinzing, University of Pittsburgh |

Storage of bulk materials in hoppers, bins and silos is ubiquitous in the chemical process industries (CPI), and so are the challenges that go along with it. Flow stoppage (bridging or arching), variability in mixture composition (de-mixing or segregation), erratic flow, uncontrolled flow (flooding), discharge-rate limitations and structural failures are not uncommon. While the impact of vessel geometry is relatively well-publicized in this context, the benefits that inserts offer — both to new and existing units — are not. Developed in the 1960s, Andrew Jenike’s powder test procedure and design methodology, which is based primarily on a steep cone and smooth wall, continue to provide scientifically determined solutions for securing reliable flow [ 1 ]. It is not always feasible, however, to design and install storage units with this geometry because of space constraints, cost or the need to retrofit an existing facility for a new application. And then there are materials with variable flow properties that create a moving target. The suggestion that flow can be improved by inserting an obstacle in the flow path, or by using a wall surface with higher resistance to slip, might seem counter-intuitive at first. Closer…
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