Particle Attrition: The Bane of many Industrial Plants - Problems, Solutions and Red Flags

Authors: 
Carson, J. - Presenter, Jenike & Johanson Inc
Particle attrition (i.e., breakage, fines generation) results with friable bulk materials, such as coffee beans, fertilizer granules, sulphur prills during routine handling in industrial processes. Particle attrition can be caused by variety of mechanisms including compression, impact, and shear.

The effects of particle attrition can be costly, such as increased dusting, powder caking, reduced solubility, decreased product performance, degraded appearance, or even creation of safety hazards like dust explosions.

A variety of design techniques can be employed to reduce, if not eliminate, particle attrition. For example, let-down chutes and hood/spoon technologies are routinely used in industrial applications; however, there can be unanticipated consequences with their use, such as high structural loads on silos and rapid abrasive wear.

An important design tool used in assessing particle attrition is discrete element method (DEM) modeling, whereby particle movement is assessed through interactions with surfaces, other particles, while under the effects of gravity and other forces. Cases studies of how DEM modeling of attrition applications will be reviewed, along with discussion of how to address common equipment challenges with attrition reduction equipment.

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