(163b) Rapid, In-line Characterization to Support Process Intensification Concepts

Westover, T. L. - Presenter, Idaho National Laboratory
Products consisting of processed particulate solids are utilized at some point in the majority of many commodity industries, including the food, pharmaceutical, agricultural and chemical industries. Careful monitoring and control of the manufacturing process is crucial to maintaining high product quality, especially in situations in which process intensification is employed because individual operations often require more stringent specifications and also each operation has greater impact on product properties (i.e. intensification of changes to the product increases the feedback/controls challenge). Particulate solid materials are often much more difficult to handle and feed than liquids or gases, which also exacerbates materials processing difficulties. This talk presents methods to assess material handling and feeding properties of particulate solids, including particle size/shape distributions, density, cohesion, and internal angle of friction (all of which are metrics of flowability). 3D laser scanners and a 2D digital camera are used to automatically measure particle size/shape distributions on a moving conveyor belt, and a custom hopper with adaptable geometry is used to measured density, cohesion, and internal angle of friction. Flow properties are determined by continually adjusting the size of the outlet in a plane-flow hopper to maintain a target fill level in the hopper. The angle of the hopper walls can also be adjusted to tune the geometry to different materials. Test results, including wall pressure measurements, are compared to simulations and indicate that these methods show promise for in-line quantitative estimation of the flow properties of compressible and anisotropic materials.