Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 7


discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289650347

Transfer Chute Design

Article in Bulk Solids Handling January 2010


5 55

3 authors:

Andr Katterfeld Tim James Donohue

Otto-von-Guericke-Universitt Magdeburg University of Newcastle


Craig Wheeler
University of Newcastle


Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:

SIMPPL View project

Coupling of Discrete Element Method View project

All content following this page was uploaded by Andr Katterfeld on 15 November 2017.

The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.

Belt Conveyor Technology

Transfer Chute Design

Simulation-based Dust Prediction
A. Katterfeld, Germany, T. Donohue and C.A. Wheeler, Australia

This article describes how the discrete element method changing the bulk material properties (e.g. by changing the wa-
ter content). However, both methods do not address one of the
and computational uid dynamics can be combined main reasons for dust generation, the design of the transfer
with empirical found relations for the diuse dust chute.
A proper design of the transfer chute reduces the dust emis-
emissions to evaluate the dust generation in transfer sions without the use of expensive dust reducing equipment.
chutes. The results of such an analysis can not only be Computer simulations based on DEM allow a detailed analysis of
used for transfer chute design they also support the how the design inuences the bulk material ow in a transfer
chute. However, due to the complex interactions of transfer
design of accompanying dust exhaustion plants. chute parts, bulk material and air ow, the design of a transfer
chute characterised by low dust emissions, low wear and proper
material ow is a very dicult task.

ust emission is one of the main problems associated with Although a more careful design might solve a lot of dust prob-
the operation of transfer chutes. The design of the trans- lems, dust exhaustion/reduction equipment will still be essential
fer chute inuences dust generation to a large degree. for a range of application areas, where dicult bulk solid proper-
Due to the very specic design of transfer chutes, sophisticated ties or certain boundary conditions limit the design options.
simulation methods such as the Discrete Element Method Although the analysis of the bulk material ow gives much of
(DEM) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) are necessary the information regarding the dust generation, it is often neces-
to predict the material and air ow in such plants. sary to also analyse the air ow in a transfer chute. For the design
of an exhaust plant it is essential to know how much dust has to
be ltered and which air ow rate is necessary to absorb all of the
1 Introduction dust polluted air. To provide such data it is essential to consider
the main inuences for the dust generation in a transfer chute:
One of the biggest environmental problems regarding transfer Bulk material ow.
chutes is the dust generation due to the fall and impact of the Air ow inside the enclosure of the transfer chute.
material. Safety and health issues also demand low dust Dustiness of the bulk material, i.e. which mass of dust is gener-
emissions, especially if the transfer chute is situated in closed ated by a certain mass ow rate of the material.
buildings. Large amounts of energy and water are used for reduc- Computer simulations and empirical relations for the diuse
ing the dust emission via ltering the dust polluted air or by dust emission in bulk handling can be used to estimate all three

240 bulk solids handling Vol. 30 2010 No. 5

Belt Conveyor Technology

Fig. 1: DEM simulation of the

transfer chute designs. Particle
colour: particle velocity:
< 0 m/s > 7 m/s

inuences and hence allow the prediction of the dust emission there is an abrupt change of the particle speed or direction. These
considering the real transfer chute design and the real bulk mate- changes cause a change in the porosity of the bulk solid and hence
rial properties. A close co-operation between the Universities of the leakage/entrainment of air. A certain amount of ne particles
Newcastle, Australia, and Magdeburg, Germany, is established to is exhausted together with the air and cause the dust emission of
develop and apply the new analysis methods for dust prediction. the transfer chute. Therefore it is necessary to realise a smooth
redirection of the material ow as well as a compact material ow
the dilution increases the porosity and causes an increase of the
2 Computer Simulations air ow. The air must leave the material stream during re-compac-
tion process on the receiving conveyor belt.
With the help of these two guidelines (smooth redirection,
2.1 DEM Simulation compact material stream) it is already possible to evaluate the
general dust emission behaviour of many transfer chutes. Fig. 1
Computer simulations are increasingly used for the simulation of shows a comparison of the steady state material ow in a trans-
material ow in transfer chutes. Due to the complex design of fer chute with original design (left) and optimised design (right).
transfer stations the material ow inside a station can be de- The above named criteria can be easily evaluated via the simu-
scribed analytically only for a small part of it (e.g. parabola trajec- lated particle ow and the particle velocity (particle colour).
tory). In recent years simulations considering single particles of
the bulk material such as DEM have become increasingly popu- 2.2 CFD Simulation
lar. It is thus not only possible to simulate and visualise the mate-
rial ow but it also enables the analysis of forces and moments The interaction of bulk material and the surrounding air is im-
acting on dierent parts of the transfer station. Combining the portant in many elds of bulk material handling and process en-
analysis of forces and particle velocities it becomes possible to gineering (e.g. pneumatic conveying, uidised bed technology,
predict the wear of such parts and optimise the design with re- etc). Hence, a lot of work has already been done in the eld of
spect to an increased lifetime [1]. Please see [2, 3] for more fun- coupling DEM and CFD [4-8]. A direct (simultaneous) coupling
damental information on DEM and its uses in bulk handling. of DEM and CFD is especially necessary if the particles uid/gas
For a rst evaluation of the dust emission it is often sucient to interaction inuences the particle velocity which is usually the
analyse the material ow in the system. Dust is generated where case for high uid/gas velocities or small particles. Simultaneous
coupled DEM-CFD simulations show an even higher numerical
eort than DEM or CFD simulation itself.
Table 1: Air mass ow rates and volumetric ow rates at dierent posi- Due to the high mass ow rate in transfer chutes, it is usually
tions in the CFD model. necessary in DEM simulations to neglect the mass fraction of the
ne bulk material that is inuenced by the air ow in the transfer
Condition M1 M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 chute, with the ow of the large particles not usually being af-
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 fected by the air ow in the transfer chute. Hence, a simultane-
Vent 1 +0.8 -0.87 +0.95 -0.98 +0.1 N/A ous coupling of DEM and CFD seems unnecessary. A more ap-
(no pressure) +0.96 -1.05 +1.14 -1.18 +0.12 plicable and ecient approach involves a serial combination of
Vent 1 +2.03 -0.87 +0.95 -0.98 -1.12 N/A DEM and CFD simulations together with entries out of the well
(-50 Pa) +2.44 -1.05 +1.14 -1.18 known continuum approach [9]. First results of such a combined
Vent 2 +0.97 -0.87 +0.95 -0.85 N/A -0.2
analysis are already discussed in [10].
(no pressure) +1.17 -1.05 +1.14 -1.02 -0.24
Vent 2
(-50 Pa)
N/A -1.09
3 Combined DEM-CFD Simulation
Vent 2 +1.23 -0.87 +0.95 +0.26 N/A -1.56 For the combined analysis of DEM and CFD it is necessary to run
(-100 Pa) +1.48 -1.05 +1.14 +0.31 -1.88 two CFD simulations: rstly the air ow in the bulk material

bulk solids handling Vol. 30 2010 No. 5 241

Belt Conveyor Technology

feeding and receiving belt was considered in the DEM simulation

and is visualized by the stream line prole in Fig. 3, left.
The boundary conditions for the simulation were chosen to
reect the movement of air around the moving material stream.
These air movements include air being induced into the material
stream as it falls and also air being exhausted as the stream im-
pacts with the receiving belt. For this simulation, the porosity in
the impact zone on the receiving belt was variable but still had a
relatively ordered structure. This ordered structure caused the air
ow within the material stream to be much more ordered which
meant it was necessary to apply an external pressure boundary
Fig. 2: 3D CAD
model of the com- condition to the top surface of the receiving conveyor belt. This
bined DEM-CFD ensured the airow in the region of the impact zone more close-
simulation model ly resembled what we would expect in real circumstances (large
amounts of air exhausting from the material stream).

stream and secondly the air ow around the bulk material stream. 4 Air Flow Boundary Conditions
For the CFD calculation of the air ow in the material stream the
following information from the DEM simulation is essential: Some of the important boundary conditions for the calculation
The idealized geometry prole of the bulk material ow. of the air ow in the enclosure (outside the bulk material stream)
The porosity distribution inside the material ow. are shown in Fig. 3, right. The air ows designated in this gure
In addition to this, it is necessary to assume several boundary can be explained as follows:
conditions in the CFD simulation along the bulk material prole M1 This is an zero relative pressure opening which allows air
to dene the interaction of the air stream inside and outside of to ow into or out of the enclosure (depending on the solu-
the bulk material stream. Previous work in [10] considered a sim- tion obtained from the other specied boundary conditions).
ple fall of bulk material from a feeding belt conveyor to a hori- M2 This is the air ow of air induced by the falling stream of
zontal plate, where no enclosure around the material stream was bulk solid (this boundary condition is specied from the re-
considered. For a more complex transfer chute example, this sults of the CFD simulation for the bulk material stream).
study simulates an enclosure around the bulk material stream M3 This is the air ow of air being exhausted due to the rapid
and on the top of the receiving conveyor (Fig. 2). This simplied compaction of the falling stream upon impact (this boundary
example is chosen to show which further analysis possibilities are condition is specied from the results of the CFD simulation
oered by an extended CFD analysis. During these preliminary for the bulk material stream).
studies it is not intended to model a specic transfer station M4 This is an zero relative pressure opening which allows air
from industry rather just to show the general capabilities of this to ow into or out of the enclosure (depending on the solu-
approach. Some of basic model parameters are: tion obtained from the other specied boundary conditions).
Falling height (height dierence between feeding and receiv- M5 This is a relative pressure specied opening, where the
ing conveyor): 2 m pressure was either 0 or -50 Pa.
Belt width: 1100 mm M6 This is a relative pressure specied opening, where the
Bulk mass ow rate: 215 kg/s = 774 t/h pressure was either 0, -50 Pa or -100 Pa.
Furthermore, two circular vents with 400 mm diameter, hav- The results of CFD simulations are shown in Fig. 3 and Table 1.
ing dierent positions and a variable pressure drop are consid- Fig. 4 shows the air ow inside the enclosure while using Vent 1
ered in the model (see Fig. 2). The highest amount of dust will be (Vent 2 closed), left, and while using Vent 2 (Vent 1 closed), right.
generated during the impact on the receiving conveyor. Hence, it The results shown in Fig. 4 were for the case of -50 Pa relative pres-
can be easily estimated, that Vent 1 in opposition to Vent 2 sure drop. In Fig. 4 left it can be clearly seen that the air, exhausted
will not exhaust a large amount of dust laden air. The general by Vent 1, does not come from the impact zone of the material
material ow is not aected by the enclosure. Hence, only the stream on the receiving belt conveyor, rather it comes from the

Fig. 3: Velocity stream lines of

air which is induced in falling
material stream (left); mass
ow rates measured at dierent
positions in the CFD model

242 bulk solids handling Vol. 30 2010 No. 5

Belt Conveyor Technology

opening above the incoming conveyor belt. Hence, the dust con- Table 2: Weighting factor for dustiness
tent of the exhausted air will be very little. The right image in Fig. 4
Material Property a
shows that almost the whole amount of the exhausted air of ___
Vent 2 comes from the impact zone. Hence, it can be estimated High dust generation 105
that a large amount of the dust polluted air is owing into Vent 2. Medium dust generation 104
Table 1 shows the general mass ow and volumetric ow of ___
Low dust generation 103
the air inside the enclosure at dierent positions and for dier- ___
ent test cases. Positive values mean air owing into the enclo- Imperceptible dust generation 102
sure. The overall behaviour of the air ow, which can be explained Extra moist / low-dust material 100
by the help of the streamline gures in Fig. 4 can be conrmed by
the shown data.
For this model it can be assumed that the air with the highest
dust content can be found on top of the receiving conveyor (re- 5 Empirical Prediction of Diuse Dust
gion M3 in Fig. 4, right, an average volumetric ow of 1.14 m/s ex-
hausts from the material stream on the receiving belt). Vent 2 ex- As it was shown, the DEM simulation allows the prediction of
hausts the air from this region, and, depending on the pressure the areas with highest dust generation and the combined DEM
drop of the vent, from the opening above the receiving belt (M4). and CFD simulation allows the calculation of the air ow out of
Putting the results from Table 1 into context, a pressure drop of 50 these regions. Hence, it is possible to estimate an optimal posi-
Pa for Vent 2 shows a volumetric ow of 1.31 m/s, and while this tion and operating condition for an exhaustions plant.
is more than the 1.14 m/s coming from region M3, there is still an However, no information is given about the mass of dust which
outow at the opening above the receiving belt (M4) of 0.13 m/s. has to be ltered by the exhaustion plant because this is a bulk
This means that there is a possibility of dust escaping the enclo- material property. Although the industrial and political demand
sure. If we then consider the case of a 100 Pa pressure drop at is given due to the many problems caused by dust emission, only
Vent 2, the volumetric ow through Vent 2 increases to 1.88 m/s vague methods exist to predict the dust amount. A standardised
out of the enclosure, which results in the air ow at the opening to laboratory test for the determination of the dustiness properties
be reversed so that air is drawn in through this opening. This indi- does not exist, although several works are published which de-
cates that no dust polluted air escapes from the enclosure. scribe devices which could be used for such an analysis [11, 12].

bulk solids handling Vol. 30 2010 No. 5 243

Belt Conveyor Technology

Fig. 4: Velocity stream lines of air

inside the enclosure, indicating
the origin of the air.

The German VDI standard 3790 Emission of gases, odours and Q mass ow rate [t/h]
dusts form diuse sources: Storage, transhipment and transporta- a weighting factor for the material dustiness [-]
tion of bulk materials [13] describes a general method for the v material velocity at the main impact point [m/s]
prediction of the dust generation caused by the continuous or g gravitational acceleration [m/s2]
discontinuous fall of the bulk material. Although the purpose of
the standard is to calculate the dust pollution close to ports or The weighting factor a is given in Table 2. The characterisation
mines, the bulk material classication system can also be used for of the bulk material regarding dust generation seems to be quite
a rough estimation of the dust generation inside transfer chutes. random, but a bulk material catalogue based on practical experi-
The VDI 3790 uses the following empirical found equations for ences is given in the Appendix of the Standard containing more
the determination of the generated dust qdust per metric tonne than 100 bulk materials. However, due to the inuence of water
of the discharged material: content and other parameters, it must be critically proven how
the material has to be categorised. Assuming dry hard coal as the
( )
v2 1.25
qdust = qnorm 0.5 ___
in [g/t] (2) bulk material for the example of the transfer chute described in
Section 2.2 the following parameters can be calculated:
with the standardised emission factor qnorm given by Impact speed of the material on the receiving belt: v = 6.3 m/s
qnorm = 83.3 Q-0.5 a in [gm3/t2] (1) Standardised emission factor: qnorm = 97.7 gm3/t2
Dust per tonne of bulk material transferred: qdust = 48 g/t
where: Dust mass per hour operation: Qdust = 37 kg/h

About the Author About the Author About the Author

Dr. T. A/Prof. Dr. Dr. C.A.

Donohue A. Katterfeld Wheeler
Dr. Timothy Dono- Prof. Andr Katter- Dr. Craig A. Wheeler
hue completed an feld received his (BE, PhD, MIEAust) is
undergraduate de- Ph.D. with his work currently a Lecturer
gree in Mechanical on the functional in the School of Engi-
Engineering with analysis of tube neering at the Uni-
1st Class Honours in 2003 at the University chain conveyors from the Otto-von-Guer- versity of Newcastle, Australia. He worked
of Newcastle, Australia. He received his icke-Universitt Magdeburg, Germany in as a Mechanical Engineer for BHP Billiton
Ph.D. from the same institution, working 2005. In 2009 he was appointed Junior-Pro- for 11 years and then as Research Fellow
closely with the Centre for Bulk Solids and fessor for Continuous Conveying Technol- at the Centre for Bulk Solids and Parti-
Particulate Technologies. His particular area ogy at the Institute for Logistics and Mate- culate Technologies for 4 years. He was
of focus is on permeability, with a specic rial Flow Technology of the same University. appointed as a Lecturer in Mechanical
interest in brous materials. More recently Prof. Katterfeld is a guest lecturer at the Uni- Engineering in 2002 and undertakes
his work has been in the area of computer versity of Newcastle, Australia, and he is al- industrial consulting activities through
simulations of particles. so the co-founder of the CeParTec GmbH. TUNRA Bulk Solids Research Associates.

Otto-von-Guericke Universitt Magdeburg Tel.: ++49 (0) 391 67 12245
Jun.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andr Katterfeld Fax: ++49 (0) 391 67 12518
Institut fr Logistik und Materialusstechnik
Universittsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany E-Mail: andre.katterfeld@mb.uni-magdeburg.de

244 bulk solids handling Vol. 30 2010 No. 5

This study has shown how DEM and CFD simulation can be com-
bined to analyse the bulk material ow and the air ow inside
transfer chute enclosures. Together with an empirical model for
diuse dust emissions it is possible to calculate the basic param-
eters for dust exhaustion plants. This is fundamental in the opti-
misation of such plants. Furthermore this analysis allows a re-
duction of the dust generation because it allows the considera-
tion of the transfer chute design. The ongoing research at New-
castle and Magdeburg covers the simulation and dust prediction
of more complex transfer chutes. Future work will improve and
extend the assumptions for the CFD simulation. Furthermore,
the development of improved laboratory tests for the determi-
nation of the dustiness property of bulk materials is covered by
this research. n

[1] K, A., G, T.: Simulation based wear predic-
tion of transfer chutes. In: Bulk Europe 2008. Papers (CD).
Wrzburg: Vogel Transtech Publications, 2008.
[2] G, T., K, A.: Application of the discrete ele-
ment method in materials handling: basics and calibration.
bulk solids handling Vol. 27 (2007) No. 1, pp. 17-23.
[3] K, A., G, T.: Application of the discrete ele-
ment method in materials handling: transfer stations. bulk
solid handling Vol. 27 (2007) No. 3, pp. 158-166
[4] T, Y., K, T., T, T.: Discrete particle simu-
lation of two-dimensional uidized bed. Powder Technology
Vol. 77, No. 1, 1993, pp. 79-87.
[5] G, J., U, Z., S, J., T, Y.: Discrete particle
simulation of ow regimes in bulk solids mixing and convey-
ing. Powder Technology Vol. 104, No. 3, 1999, pp. 248-257.
[6] X, B.H., Y, A.B.: Numerical simulation of the gas-solid ow
in a uidized bed by combining discrete particle method
with computational uid dynamics. Chemical Engineering
Science Vol. 52, No. 16, 1997, pp. 2785-2809.
[7] K, S.B., Y, A.B., Z, Z.S., P, R.H.: Discrete particle
simulation of the unstable motion of particle slugs in hori-
zontal pneumatic conveying. In: Conference Proceedings of
the 9th International Conference on Bulk Materials Storage,
Handling and Transportation 2007, Newcastle, Australia,
[8] K, S.B., Y, A.B.: Computer Simulation of the Flow Re-
gimes in Pneumatic Conveying. In: Conference Proceedings
of CHOPS 2009, Brisbane, Australia. 2009, pp. 98-100.
[9] R, A.W.: Chute performance and design for rapid ow
conditions. Chemical Engineering Technology Vol. 26, 2003.
[10] D, T.J. et al.: A coupled continuum and CFD model
to investigate the eects of dust generation. In: Conference
Proceedings of CHOPS 2009, Brisbane 2009, pp. 213-218.
[11] R-W, G., H, W.: Enstehung diuser
Staubemissionen whrend des Fallens von Schttgtern. In:
Schttgut Vol. 12 (2006) No. 4, 2006.
[12] E, D.: Methodik zur Bestimmung diuser Staub-
emissionen beim Schttgutumschlag. Disseration, Univer-
sitt Dortmund 1996.
[13] VDI 3790 Emission of gases, odours and dusts form diuse
sources: storage, transhipment and transportation of bulk
materials. May 1999.

bulk solids handling Vol. 30 2010 No. 5 245

View publication stats