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(95c) Characterising Powder Flow in Dynamic Processes

Khala, M. J., University of Surrey
Hare, C., University of Surrey
Wu, C. Y., Chemical and Process Engineering
Murtagh, M., Corning Inc.
Freeman, T., Freeman Technology
Flow inconsistency of cohesive powders is a major issue for process industries. It is often difficult to predict and control flow of cohesive powders to enable efficient and reliable process operations particularly for dynamic processes such as mixing and filling. Many quantitative and qualitative flow measurement techniques exist that are used for measuring powder flowability under quasi-static conditions. However, there are few available techniques capable of assessing powder flowability under dynamic conditions. The FT4 Powder Rheometer (Freeman Technology), which drives a rotating blade along the vertical axis through a column of powder contained within a cylindrical vessel, is one of the few available devices that is capable of measuring powder flow in a dynamic state [1]. The flow resistance of the rotating blade as it penetrates the powder bed is characterised by flow energy, however, there is lack of understanding in how to relate this measurement to process design.

This work focuses on determining the relationship between the torque and shear stress in the FT4. The effect of particle size on the external flow profile around the blade has been investigated experimentally for glass beads using a high speed camera. The material investigated shows a decrease in downward specific flow energy with increasing particle size; indicating that the increased shear resistance in the bulk for smaller particle sizes exists under dynamic conditions. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) analysis indicates an increase in the volume of particles displaced by the blade with increasing particle size for both upward and downward blade movement. An increase in impeller tip speed leads to a reduction in flow energy for this material, and a reduction in the volume displaced by the blade. The prevailing stresses and strains as well as the volume of particles displaced by the blade are estimated by Discrete Element Method (DEM). DEM allows for the determination of a relationship between the flow energy and/or shear stress with particle properties and blade velocity and direction. Furthermore, Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) analysis of the FT4 has been carried out to determine the radial and axial displacement of particles with respect to the bed height, and to validate the DEM results.