Application of simulation technologies in the analysis of granular material behaviour during transport and storage

P. Chapelle, N. Christakis, J. Wang, N. Strusevich, M. K. Patel, M. Cross, H. Abou-Chakra, J. Baxter, U. Tuzun

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Problems in the preservation of the quality of granular material products are complex and arise from a series of sources during transport and storage. In either designing a new plant or, more likely, analysing problems that give rise to product quality degradation in existing operations, practical measurement and simulation tools and technologies are required to support the process engineer. These technologies are required to help in both identifying the source of such problems and then designing them out. As part of a major research programme on quality in particulate manufacturing computational models have been developed for segregation in silos, degradation in pneumatic conveyors, and the development of caking during storage, which use where possible, micro-mechanical relationships to characterize the behaviour of granular materials. The objective of the work presented here is to demonstrate the use of these computational models of unit processes involved in the analysis of large-scale processes involving the handling of granular materials. This paper presents a set of simulations of a complete large-scale granular materials handling operation, involving the discharge of the materials from a silo, its transport through a dilute-phase pneumatic conveyor, and the material storage in a big bag under varying environmental temperature and humidity conditions. Conclusions are drawn on the capability of the computational models to represent key granular processes, including particle size segregation, degradation, and moisture migration caking.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE01604
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb. 2005


  • Caking
  • Continuum modelling
  • Degradation
  • Granular materials
  • Micro-mechanical parametrizations
  • Segregation


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