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Title: Experimental and computational study of the behaviour of free-cells in discharging silos
Author: Mack, Stuart Anderson
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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This study aims to deduce an appropriate shape and density for an electronic free-cell that could be placed into a silo so that position and other desired physical parameters could be recorded. To determine how density and shape affects the trajectory and displacement of free cells, the trajectory and displacement of cylindrical, cuboid and triangular prism free-cells of equivalent volume was investigated in a discharging quasi 3D silo slice. The free-cells were placed at twelve different starting positions spread evenly over one half of the 3D slice. Tests were conducted using a monosized batch of spherical particles with a diameter of approximately 5 mm. Tests were also conducted in a binary mixture consisting of particles of different sizes (5 mm/4 mm) and the same density (1.28 g/cm3) and a binary mixture consisting of particles of different size (6 mm/5 mm) and different densities (1.16 g/cm3/1.28 g/cm3).The rotation of the free cells was also briefly discussed.Computer simulations were conducted using the Discrete Element Method (DEM). The simulation employed the spring-slider-dashpot contact model to represent the normal and tangential force components and the modified Euler integration scheme was applied to calculate the particle velocities and positions at each time step. One trial of each of the metal and plastic, cylindrical, cuboid and triangular prism free cells was compared with the average of three experimental trials. The trajectory and displacement of a representative particle positioned at the same starting position as the free cell was also obtained from DEM simulation and compared with the path and displacement of each of the free cells to determine which free cell followed the particle most closely and hence to determine a suitable free cell that would move with the rest of the grains. Spherical particles are idealised particles. Therefore tests were also conducted with a small number of polyhedral particles, to deduce their flow rate and the critical orifice width at which blockages were likely to form. Simulations were also conducted to test the feasibility of the DEM in modelling the behaviour of these polyhedral particles.Results indicate that for a free cell to move along the same trajectory and have the same displacement and velocity as an equivalent particle in the batch it should have a similar density to the majority of the other particles. A cylindrical free cell of similar density to the particles was found to follow the path of the representative particle more closely than the cuboid or triangular prism. Polyhedral particles were found to have a greater flow rate than spherical particles of equivalent volume.
Supervisor: Webb, Colin Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Discrete Element Method ; Polyhedral particles ; Spherical particles ; Non-spherical particles ; Free cell ; Tracer particle