(34a) Particle and Bulk Solids Handling Technology - Bridging the Theory Practice Gap

Authors: 
Roberts, A. - Presenter, The University of Newcastle


This paper presents a review of Particle Technology as it relates to the storage, flow and handling of bulk solids. While noting that the developments of this subject now span a period of some 125 years, the paper focuses on the significant developments that have occurred over the past 50 years following the work of Jenike. The work has covered such topics as flow property testing, theories of flow, modeling of particle systems by continuum theory and discrete elements, vibrations of powders, blending and mixing and wall loads under initial filling, flow and pulsing conditions. In noting the significant developments in these various subject areas, the problems in many industrial operations concerned with the storage, handling and processing of bulk solids are often orders of magnitude more difficult than the level of fundamental research available to solve them. So the approach is to apply a combination of theory at the current state of knowledge, some basic mechanics and "engineering judgment". While this may satisfy the immediate needs of industry, the important ?spin off? is the identification of areas for longer term, more fundamental research. In this respect, research has to play a "catch up" role. While not diminishing the value of unconstrained, fundamental research, it is particularly important that considerable research effort be directed at those known, complex, industrial problems where improved solutions leading to more efficient performance have a high priority. These objectives are illustrated by reference to case study examples. Some thoughts for future strategic research and professional developments in this subject area are presented.

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