Conveying of Powders:
Design Aspects
and Phenomena
A thesis submitted for the fulfilment of the requirements
for the award of the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
from
The University of Newcastle
by
Kenneth Charles Williams
BE (Mech  with Hons 1
st
Class)
Dip Av Sci
School of Engineering
Centre for Bulk Solids and Particulate Technologies
J uly, 2008
DECLARATION
I hereby certify that the work embodied in this thesis is the result of original
research and has not been submitted for a higher degree to any other
University or Institution
_______________________
Kenneth Charles Williams
AKNOWLEDGEMENTS
There are specific individuals, departments and organisations that thanks must be given
as they have been instrumental to me in either helping to nurture a seed of an idea,
guiding an avenue of thought or providing much needed foundations for developing my
research. Understandably, I give thanks to the following:
Firstly, my supervisor Professor Mark J ones, for providing essential guidance and
clarifying important ideas, which gave me confidence in the approaches that I was
taking were relevant research goals. Also for Professor Mark J ones and Professor Alan
Roberts for providing an exceptional working environment at the Centre for Bulk Solids
and Particulate Technologies, at The University of Newcastle, which encourages
creative research, with the ultimate aim to increase the predictive model capability to
solve real world problems.
To all my fellow colleagues for providing their insight and patiently listening to my
incessant thoughts on research ideas and methods. In particular, Dr Andre Katterfeld for
the clarifying discussions on some of the early mathematical approaches and tools.
To the technical staff at the Mechanical Engineering workshop and at TUNRA Bulk
Solids for their thoughts on solutions to design issues and for constructing the research
equipment. Specifically, Mr Mitchell Gibbs for the providing unique guidance and
solutions on data acquisition problems to a young nave researcher and to Mr Shane
Keys for his valuable assistance throughout the research.
Most importantly, to my wife, Rachel, for her eternal love and understanding and for
her forgiveness of the vagueness of my research working times. And to my three
beautiful daughters, Holly, Claudia and Paige for simply being my children thus giving
me an important balance to work and family and also for ensuring that my life will be
forever full.
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................ 1
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION................................................................................ 2
1.1 Modes of Flow.........................................................................................................3
1.1.1 Plug flow.........................................................................................................4
1.1.2 Fluidised dense phase flow.............................................................................6
1.2 Thesis Overview......................................................................................................8
1.2.1 Mode of flow...................................................................................................8
1.2.2 Solids friction..................................................................................................9
1.2.3 Solids velocity...............................................................................................11
CHAPTER 2: PREDICTING CONVEYING MODES OF FLOW....................... 13
2.1 Bulk Material Parameters.......................................................................................14
2.1.1 Basic parameters...........................................................................................14
2.1.1.1 particle size distribution.......................................................................14
2.1.1.2 particle density.....................................................................................14
2.1.1.3 bulk density..........................................................................................15
2.1.2 Airparticle parameters.................................................................................15
2.1.2.1 permeability.........................................................................................16
2.1.2.2 steady state fluidisation pressure.........................................................16
2.1.2.3 deaeration............................................................................................16
2.2 Mode of Flow Data................................................................................................17
2.3 Predictive Diagrams...............................................................................................21
2.3.1 Basic bulk material diagrams........................................................................21
2.3.1.1 Geldarts fluidisation diagram.............................................................23
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena v
2.3.1.2 Moleruss fluidisation diagram............................................................27
2.3.1.3 Dixons slugging diagram....................................................................31
2.3.1.4 Pans pneumatic conveying predictive diagram..................................34
2.3.2 Airparticle bulk material diagrams..............................................................35
2.3.2.1 Mainwaring and Reed diagram............................................................36
2.3.2.2 J ones diagram.......................................................................................39
2.3.2.3 Chambers et al parameter.....................................................................40
2.3.2.4 Fargette et al parameter........................................................................42
2.3.2.5 Sanchez et al diagram..........................................................................44
2.4 Proposed Mode of Flow Diagram..........................................................................46
2.5 Summary................................................................................................................47
CHAPTER 3: EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM AND DATA................................. 49
3.1 Bulk Material Testing Methods.............................................................................49
3.1.1 Basic parameter test methods........................................................................49
3.1.2 Airparticle parameter test methods..............................................................51
3.1.3 Flow property tests........................................................................................53
3.2 Bulk Material Data.................................................................................................54
3.2.1 Cement Meal .................................................................................................55
3.2.2 Flyash............................................................................................................57
3.2.3 Alumina.........................................................................................................59
3.3 Conveying Tests.....................................................................................................61
3.3.1 Feeding and receiving systems.....................................................................61
3.3.2 Calibration of instruments.............................................................................63
3.3.3 Air mass flow rate calibration.......................................................................65
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena vi
3.3.4 Conveying pipeline configurations...............................................................67
3.3.5 test procedure and analysis...........................................................................71
3.3.5.1 test procedure.......................................................................................71
3.3.5.2 test analysis..........................................................................................71
3.4 J ones Pneumatic Conveying Test Data [18] ..........................................................76
3.4.1 Pulverised Fuel Ash data sheet.....................................................................77
3.4.2 Democrat Flour.............................................................................................78
3.4.3 Iron Powder data sheet..................................................................................79
CHAPTER 4: SOLIDS FRICTION CORRELATIONS REVIEW AND
ANALYSIS ......................................................................................... 80
4.1 Current Pressure Models........................................................................................81
4.1.1 Scaleup methods..........................................................................................81
4.1.2 Empirical methods........................................................................................82
4.2 Solids Friction and Two Phase Fluid Pressure Model ...........................................83
4.2.1 Air friction factors.........................................................................................83
4.2.2 Solids friction factors....................................................................................84
4.2.3 Effect on pressure drop.................................................................................87
4.2.3.1 diameter scaleup analysis...................................................................89
4.2.3.2 length scaleup analysis.......................................................................92
4.3 Comparison of Pressure Analysis with Experimental Tests..................................95
CHAPTER 5: SOLIDS FRICTION POWER LAW.......................................... 100
5.1 Back Calculation of the Power Law....................................................................100
5.1.1 Coefficient and exponent behaviour..........................................................101
5.1.2 Scaleup behaviour......................................................................................107
5.1.2.1 pipeline length variations...................................................................108
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena vii
5.1.2.2 pipeline diameter variations...............................................................113
5.1.3 Summary of power law back calculation....................................................118
5.2 Optimal Power Law Determination.....................................................................119
5.2.1 Empirical optimisation methods.................................................................119
Comparison of the optimal power law methods...................................................124
5.2.2 Pressure drop prediction and bench scale based parameters.......................125
CHAPTER 6: NUMERICAL MODEL FOR SOLIDS VELOCITY................... 130
6.1 Current modelling................................................................................................131
6.2 The Initial Continuum Model Approach..............................................................131
6.2.1 Force equilibrium and conservation of mass..............................................132
6.2.2 Force equilibrium equations........................................................................133
6.2.3 Conservation of mass..................................................................................134
6.3 Pressure Drop.......................................................................................................134
6.4 Differential Equations..........................................................................................134
6.5 Initial Conditions..................................................................................................135
6.6 Behaviour of the NonLinear Differential Equations..........................................136
6.7 Comparison of Continuum Model to Conveying Tests.......................................138
6.7.1 Constant solids friction along pipeline........................................................138
6.7.1.1 limitations..........................................................................................139
6.7.2 Variable solids friction along pipeline........................................................140
6.7.2.1 blockage analysis...............................................................................142
6.7.3 Measuring fluidised dense phase flow velocity..........................................148
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena viii
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSIONS .............................................................................. 153
7.1 Mode of Flow.......................................................................................................153
7.2 Solids Friction Resistance....................................................................................155
7.3 Solids Velocity.....................................................................................................157
CHAPTER 8: FUTURE WORK............................................................................. 158
8.1 Steady state approach...........................................................................................158
8.2 Transient approach...............................................................................................160
CHAPTER 9: REFERENCES................................................................................. 163
APPENDIX A: Mode of flow data........................................................................A1A5
APPENDIX B: Bulk material data...................................................................... B1B10
APPENDIX C: Solids friction correlations........................................................... C1C7
APPENDIX D: Derivation of solids velocity differential equations.....................D1D3
APPENDIX E: MATLAB Scripts for solids flow velocity...................................E1E7
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena ix
NOMENCLATURE
Upper Case Letters
A area [m
2
]
A
F
Mainwaring and Reed deaeration constant [24] [Pa s m
1
]
A
i
i =1, 2, 3 or 4 are constants in chapter 4 []
A
P
amplitude of the gas pulse [Pa]
B bend factor []
B
i
i =1, 2, 3 or 4 are constants in chapter 4 []
C solids friction power law constant in equation 5.3 []
C
i
i =1, 2, 3 or 4 are constants in chapter 4 []
D diameter (pipe) [m]
DL abbreviation for Dilute phase only flow []
FD abbreviation for fluidised dense phase flow []
F
H
Molerus defined adhesion factor [28] []
Fr Froude number []
Grt Sanchez deaeration based parameter [45] []
HR Hausner ratio []
K
i
i =1 or 2 defined by Equations 2.8 and 2.9 []
K
sp
Dixons single plug constant in Equation 2.12 [8] []
Kv J ones vibrated deaeration factor [18] [m s
1
]
L length [m]
N
B
number of bends []
N
C
Chambers airparticle parameter [6] []
P pressure [Pa]
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena x
PL abbreviation for plug flow []
P* Sanchez permeability based parameter [45] []
Q volumetric flow rate [m
3
s
1
]
S displacement (Chapter 6) [m]
Ti pressure transducer number, i=1, 2, 3,. []
T
P
time period of the pressure pulse [s]
X conversion factor in Equation 2.17 []
Y constant in Equation 2.18 [Pa m kg
1
s
1
]
Lower Case Letters
a solids friction power law exponent in equation 5.3 []
b solids friction power law exponent in equation 5.3 []
c exponent in equation 2.18 []
d diameter (particle) [m]
g acceleration due to gravity [m s
2
]
k parameter in Equation 2.6 []
k
1
defined Equation 2.11 []
m mass flow rate [kg s
1
]
m* solids loading ratio []
r radius [m]
t time [s]
t
c
calculated deaeration time [s]
t
DA
Chambers deaeration rate [6] [s]
v velocity [m s
1
]
w parameter defined in Equation 2.6 []
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena xi
w
1
parameter defined in Equation 2.11 []
x
i
i =1, 2, 3, 4 , correlation constants in Equation 5.5 []
z pressure drop per displacement (Chapter 6) [Pa/m]
Greek Letters
effective angle of internal friction [ ]
voidage []
friction factor []
Fargette airparticle parameter [11] []
density [kg m
3
]
friction angle [ ]
permeability factor [m
3
s kg
1
]
viscosity [kg m s
1
]
Subscripts
a
air
b
bulk
bl
bulk, loose poured
f
fluid or friction
g
gas
i
integer
j
integer
mb
minimum bubbling
mf
minimum fluidisation
mod
modification or change to a parameter
o
origin or reference condition
Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying of Powders: Design Aspects and Phenomena xii
p
particle
P
pulse
s
solids
sp
single plug (air fluidisation)
ss
steady state
t
terminal
w
wall
NOTE: Some symbols displayed above are the same symbols used in the cited article by
the relevant authors. Using the same symbols avoided confusion when discussing
similar parameters derived by different researchers.
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 1
ABSTRACT
Determining the operating parameters and design considerations for dense phase (non
suspension) conveying of fine powders in pneumatic systems typically use empirical,
steadystate modelling techniques, as the mechanisms of the flow behaviour are still not
fully understood. However, this necessary simplification in the modelling of the dense
phase flow still presents significant challenges in ensuring that the predicted outcomes
adequately reflect the physical nature of the flow, and therefore provide good design
guidance. This thesis represents an examination and development of techniques required
for designing dense phase systems of fine powders in three specific areas; prediction of
a materials potential to dense phase convey, solids friction correlations and their
subsequent effect on pressure drop prediction, and modelling the solids flow from a
local perspective.
The dense phase capability analysis was conducted by reviewing the current predictive
techniques utilising known dense phase material data. It was apparent in the thesis that
there were distinct strong predictive regions in all the diagrams; however some
diagrams showed areas with weak predictive regions. This work also illustrated the
difficulties in comparing different deaeration rate techniques and significantly, a new
mode of flow predictive chart was developed which eliminated the need to determine
deaeration rates while still maintaining distinctly strong dense phase predictive
capability.
Solids friction based pressure models invariably use a power law which require
determination of coefficient/s and exponent/s. Detailed in this thesis is the research
which shows why solutions do not always occur in these power law based friction
models and defines a method of determining stable and meaningful values for the
exponents. Furthermore, a generic air/particle parameter based solids friction model was
developed which is a clear advancement in defining the frictional resistance of dense
phase pneumatic conveying of powder.
This thesis also proposes a new continuum model which calculates the force balance
between the conveying air flow, the resistance of the particles and geometrical effects,
like bends. The solution to this model provides qualitative information on fine powder
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 2
dense phase flow velocity from a solids flow perspective and represents a major step in
advancing dense phase modelling from a particle flow basis.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Many products and intermediates in the mining, resource and process industries exist in
loose bulk solid form which have to be stored and transported during manufacture and
processing. The importance of these industries is significant to the national economic
wealth for countries with strong resource and processing industries. A major proportion
of the cost of bulk material is attributable to its handling and transportation, for
example, it is estimated that transport cost accounts for 50%  60% of the selling price
for mineral ore exports [44]. Therefore, efficient bulk material storage, handling and
transport systems are paramount in maintaining a competitive environment, at both the
company and national level, for industries that utilise bulk material. The significance of
the cost of transport systems to Australia are large, for example, mineral exports in 2006
were estimated to be worth over $100 Billion [2], which is equivalent to approximately
65% of the total Australian merchandise exports ($152.2 Billion [3]).
Pneumatic conveying is a common inplant transport system for bulk material which
has been used successfully in the chemical (soap powders, detergents), food (sugar,
flour), cosmetics (talc, face powder) or energy (coal and ash) industries. The major
advantages of pneumatic conveying systems are their enclosed nature, flexibility and
easy automation. There are two basic types of pneumatic conveying; dilute phase (or
suspension flow) and dense phase where the predominant flow mechanism is a non
suspension mode of flow. While dilute phase systems are generally the most reliable
and offer the greatest flexibility in design, the relatively high conveying velocities
(generally in excess of 15 m/s) lead to significant operational problems including
particle attrition and erosive wear of pipelines.
The choice of whether to design for dilute phase conditions or for dense phase can be a
difficult choice for the designer. In general, dilute phase conveying has a greater
tolerance and can be safer with regard to reliability and the sensitivity of the system to
changes in material properties. However, for materials that are erosive or abrasive and
for materials that are fragile, dilute phase systems are generally not suitable. Lowering
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 3
conveying velocities can have a very significant effect in reducing the unwanted side
effects of product degradation (or attrition) and erosive wear of the system. In these
situations, there is a strong case for using dense phase conveying.
1.1 Modes of Flow
Initially, there is a need to establish the definition of dense phase conveying as there
have been various terms used by different researchers. For example, with respect to
larger granular material, Mainwaring and Reed [24] discuss how in a shearing flow,
small slugs of material flow over a large stationary bed of material, and, by increasing
the airflow, full bore plugs of material will flow over a small stationary bed. This slug
description is in contrast to Konrads [22] definition where he describes full bore
plugs of material flowing through a pipeline, separated by slugs of air. To add to the
dense phase definition debate, Pan et al [33] describe long plugs of material which
exhibit unstable pressure fluctuations, and, when the airflow is decreased, a relatively
stable conveying region occurs where full bore slugs of material move through the
pipeline. Dixon [8] describes the different forms of slugging that can occur in dense
phase flows for granular material (generally axisymmetric slugging), for finer powders
(generally asymmetric slugging) or material which have no slugging capability. Also,
terms used to describe a two layer dense phase/dilute phase flow for fine powders have
varied; namely 'moving bed flow' (e.g. [18][24][25]) and 'fluidised dense phase flow'
(e.g.[35]) or wave like flow (e.g. [45]).
However, as discussed by the researchers quoted in the preceding paragraph, it has long
been recognised that there are two broad categories of dense phase flow that can be
effectively used in pneumatic conveying systems. Firstly, dense phase conveying of
predominantly granular materials which exhibit a high degree of permeability and
secondly, a flow which is based largely on the fluidised nature of fine powders. In
granular material, the dense phase flow basically consists of full bore conveying of
material separated by air gaps. For the fine powder dense phase, the material generally
flows in two layers which consist of a dense layer flowing on the bottom of the pipe and
a dilute layer flowing in the upper section of the pipe. The nature of these modes of
flow is quite different and will be discussed in the following subchapters. Within this
thesis, the terms used for dense phase conveying will be either fluidised dense phase
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 4
or plug flow, the reasons for which will also be discussed in the following sub
chapters.
1.1.1 Plug flow
In fully developed dense phase pneumatic conveying of granular material, discrete full
bore lengths of material flow through the pipeline. These full bore lengths of material
have been characterised as either slugs or plugs. For this researcher, the two terms
appear relatively synonymous with each other and realistically, deciding which term to
use seems arbitrary. So for this thesis, the term plug flow will be used to describe
granular dense phase flow behaviour.
In plug flow, the discrete plugs can vary in length and frequency and can merge with
other plugs or be destroyed. These variations in plug behaviour are generally dependent
on the pneumatic conveying conditions through the pipeline, usually defined by the air
pressure (P) and the flow parameters of solids mass flow rate (m
s
) and air (or gas) mass
flow rate (m
a
). With respect to these parameters, the transition behaviour from dilute
flow to plug flow conveying can be vary considerable and be quite complex and
difficult to measure. For instance, as shown pictorially in Figure 1 and graphically in
Figure 2, as m
a
is decreased, there is a transition (generally smooth) from the dilute
phase flow to a mode of conveying characterized by a moving dense layer of particles
travelling along the bottom of the pipeline (conveying in layers or strand flow) and a
dilute phase layer flowing over the top. Further reduction of m
a
can cause instabilities in
the flow in a region known as the unstable zone. The characteristics of the flow of
granular material in the unstable zone can vary, depending on material type. For
instance, for some sugars and sand, the unstable zone represents a no go region for
pneumatic conveying while for other material like plastic pellets, the transition is
relatively smooth. For other materials the unstable zone is characterised by
significantly large pressure fluctuations and severe pipeline vibration. Further reduction
of m
a
below a critical value defines the dense phase steady state region of plug flow
where each plug of material picks up particles from a stationary layer at the front and
material falls off at the back of the plug.
It is also important to note that the dense phase pneumatic conveying behaviour of
granular material is reversible, i.e. when m
a
is increased from a flow which is initially in
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 5
the plug flow region, the material will change to unstable zone flow behaviour, then it
will exhibit strand flow and eventually, dilute phase flow. The other noticeable
characteristic during the plug flow conveying is that there is an air gap between each
plug with a stationary layer of material at the bottom of the pipe. Bulk material which
naturally convey in a plug mode of flow generally are large particles (>500 um) with a
small size distribution. Further to this, researchers have found [18][24] that a high air
flow rate through the material is another attribute for this type of flow (e.g. [18][24]),
which reflects the relatively large interstitial voids between the larger particle and the
small size distribution combination.
Direction of material flow
Dilute phase flow
Conveying in layers
Material picked up and dropped of
fromstationary layer
Plug flow
Air gap Air gap
Stationary layer
Direction of material flow
D
e
c
r
e
a
s
i
n
g
a
i
r
m
a
s
s
f
l
o
w
r
a
t
e
Dilute phase flow
1
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
2 7 12 17 22 27 32 37
air mass flow rate (m
a
)
p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
d
r
o
p
(
P
)
Plug
Flow
Conveying
in Layers
Unstable
Zone
Dilute Phase
No
Flow
Lines of
constant m
s
Figure 1, diagram illustrating pneumatic conveying transition behaviour from Dilute to
Plug Conveying
Figure 2, general form of plug flow pneumatic conveying diagram
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 6
1.1.2 Fluidised dense phase flow
The general description of dense phase flow of fine powders is that it consists of two
layers; a dilute phase layer flowing over a slower dense phase layer. The dense phase
layer has been described as exhibiting a wave (or dune) like motion along the bottom of
the pipe, as shown pictorially in Figure 3. This wavelike motion has certainly been
observed by this researcher using high speed video (see SubChapter 6.7.3); however,
this two phase flow appears to be discontinuous and interspersed with a full bore pulse
of material. The composition of the material structure within the pulse is still
undetermined; however it could be either a concentrated dilute phase flow or dispersed
dense phase flow or a combination of both. Regardless of what the pulse definition will
be, the pulse appears to reaerate the powder, which effectively fluidises the material
and therefore, the term fluidised dense phase will be used throughout this thesis.
Even though the fluidised dense phase flow is a nonsteady pulsatile flow, a steady state
approach can be made with respect to the global operating parameters. The general form
of the global behaviour for fluidised dense phase flow can be defined by the same
parameters used for plug flow, i.e. P, m
s
and m
a
. As shown in Figure 4, fluidised dense
phase flow is similar to the conveying in layers behaviour seen in plug flow
conveying. The difference between the two modes occurs due to the continual smooth
transition from dilute to dense phase conveying (i.e. no unstable zone). With the
exception of the full bore pulses, the dense flow exhibits a two layer structure where the
majority of the particles are transported in the denser layer at the bottom of the pipeline
with the upper layer dominated by the higher velocity dilute flow.
Bulk material which naturally conveys in a fluidised dense phase flow are generally
small particles (<100 um) with a large size distribution (eg, Cement, Flyash, Flour,
Alumina). In contrast to plug flow, researchers have found ([18][19][24]) that a high air
retention capability is an important attribute for fluidised dense phase flow. This high
air retention maintains the fluid like nature of the material, which is attributable to the
smooth transition between this form of dense phase flow and dilute phase conditions.
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 7
Direction of material flow
Fluidised dense phase
Dilute phase flow
D
e
c
r
e
a
s
i
n
g
a
i
r
m
a
s
s
f
l
o
w
r
a
t
e
Direction of material flow
Fluidised dense phase
Dilute phase flow
Direction of material flow
Dilute phase flow
Figure 3, diagram illustrating the idealised pneumatic conveying transition behaviour
from Dilute to Fluidised Dense Phase Conveying
1
0
1
2
3
4
5
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
air mass flow rate (m
a
)
p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
d
r
o
p
(
P
)
No
Flow
Fluidised dense
phase flow
Dilute
Phase
Lines of
constant m
s
Figure 4, general form of fluidised dense phase pneumatic conveying diagram
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 8
1.2 Thesis Overview
Determining the performance of a fine powders dense phase pneumatic conveying
capability is generally more challenging when compared to conveying the same material
in dilute phase. Initially, the powder will hopefully be able to be correctly assessed as
either a dense phase or a dilute phase only capable material using some type of
predictive criteria, rather than having to actually pneumatically convey the powder.
Then, if it is dense phase capable, predicting operating conditions, like tonnage rate and
airflow requirements (flow rate and pressure drop), requires a more exacting approach
when compared to predicting dilute phase conveying parameters. In addition to the
prediction of the operating parameters, the behaviour and performance of the dense
phase flow through the different possible routing configurations (namely horizontal,
vertical sections and bends) requires some understanding of the resistive/motive force
balance so that problem areas of the pipeline can be estimated. Consequently, the main
aim of this thesis is dedicated to the understanding of fluidised dense phase pneumatic
conveying mode of flow and detailing some design criteria in three specific areas; mode
of flow prediction, the solids friction correlations approach with the associated pressure
drop predictions and solids velocity modelling. In writing this thesis, a more detailed
literature review of previous research for each area is written at the beginning of each
respective chapter.
1.2.1 Mode of flow
For the mode of flow research, the work involved assessing diagrams that have
previously been used to predict what mode of flow a material will pneumatically convey
in, and investigate methods to improve their accuracy. This involved defining the
diagrams into two sub categories: Basic parameter based diagrams and Airparticle
parameter based diagrams. It is important to note that some of the basic diagrams were
not designed for pneumatic conveying mode of flow prediction (Geldart [12], Molerus
[28] and Dixon [8]) and the initial aim of this assessment was to determine if they
displayed any type of predictive capability.
The basic parameter diagrams used simple parameters of average particle size and
particle density, and although the Geldart and Molerus diagrams were developed for
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 9
characterising fluidisation behaviour with Dixons chart developed for the vertical
slugging behaviour, there was some predictive capability using these diagrams.
Improvements to these diagrams were conducted by replacing the particle density
parameter with a loose poured bulk density parameter. The last of the basic diagrams
was developed by Pan [35] who also defined a mode of flow chart using average
particle size and loose poured bulk density. Finally, the mode of flow predictive
performance of all these basic diagrams were summarised by defining areas of strong
and weak mode of flow predictive capability.
The airparticle based diagrams used parameters which described some type of air
interaction with the material, namely; how the air flows through the material under a
motive force (permeability), the aerated state of the material (fluidisation) or how the air
naturally escaped from the material (deaeration). Initially, each researchers approach
in developing these diagrams was to use the permeability and a deaeration rate of the
material to predict the mode of flow (Mainwaring and Reed [24] and J ones [18]), and
while these techniques were relatively successful, other predictive methods were
subsequently developed which combined the basic and airparticle parameters in order
to improve the mode of flow prediction (Fargette et al [11], Chambers et al [6] and
Sanchez et al [45]).
Currently there is no universal technique to determine a deaeration parameter, which
unfortunately makes it difficult to assess deaeration values between different
researchers. To bypass this deaeration parameter problem and maintain a simple
parameter approach, a chart using loosepoured bulk density and permeability was
developed and assessed with the results showing comparative accuracy with the air
particle based diagrams.
1.2.2 Solids friction
Generally, there are three prime operating parameters which need to be determined
correctly for a pneumatic conveying system to run effectively and efficiently; total
conveying pipeline pressure drop, air flow rate (usually mass) and the mass flow rate
(or tonnage rate) of the conveyed material. To determine the operating parameters,
typically two of the parameters are assumed while the third parameter (usually the
pressure drop) undergoes some predictive technique or method. Correct estimation of
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 10
the air operating parameters of pipeline air pressure drop and airflow rate is important as
they define the magnitude of the air motive force (and energy requirements) to convey
the material. To successfully convey the particles, the air motive force must overcome
the natural resistance of the material flow, which must be a function of material (or
solids) flow rate.
The resistance of the particle flow in the pipeline is different, depending on the mode of
flow of the material and is commonly an empirical based parameter defined as the solids
friction. Currently, the most accurate solids friction based values for fluidised dense
phase conveying are specifically calculated for a given material by conducting
conveying tests through a test (or pilot) pipeline (e.g. Pan and Wypych [32], Datta and
Ratnayaka [7]). The results of these friction values are then used to predict the pressure
drop in the full (or inplant) pipeline. Empirical forms of solids friction correlations
have also been used for fine powder pneumatic conveying over a range of operating
conditions between dilute and dense phase conveying (e.g. Stegmaier [47], Weber [52])
with limited success. For example, Chambers [5] found that the predicted pressure drop
could vary up to a magnitude of 2 using Stegmaiers correlation. More recently, this
researcher and J ones [20] investigated a backcalculation technique to empirically
develop a solids friction correlation specifically for fluidised dense phase conveying.
Although the fluidised dense phase correlations appeared highly accurate in estimating
the frictional correlation in the test pipeline, scalingup analysis of the predicted
pressure drop showed that the correlation does not produce a pressure drop solution (as
will be shown in Chapter 4).
In investigating why the correlations caused the pressure drop equations to become
unsolvable, it became apparent that the power law structure of the solids friction
correlations where dominated by two distinct nondimensional parameters: the ratio
between the solids and air mass flow rates (solids loading ratio  m*) and the superficial
gas velocity, usually based on Froude number (Fr). It was found that the values of the
exponent/s and coefficient/s can have a dramatic effect on the subsequent pressure drop
prediction and the reason why this occurs is investigated for three solids friction
correlations (Chapter 4).
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 11
In order to determine the optimal value of the power law coefficient and exponents for
a fluidised solids friction factor, an analysis was conducted on how these exponents and
the coefficient affect a commonly used pressure drop model (Chapter 5). From this
analysis, it became clear that there was a direct relationship between the exponents and
coefficient which was material dependant, and could have a dramatic effect on the
scaledup pressure prediction. Also, the values of the coefficient and exponents
differed, depending on the type of approach used in determining the correlations. From
this analysis, boundary values for the exponents were presented based on physical and
mathematical limitations. A further graphical design tool was developed to indicate if
the conveying tests were sufficient in range, number and/or quality to have increased
confidence in the subsequent solids friction correlation. This graphical tool compared
three different methods of determining the optimal values for the coefficient and
exponents for the friction power law. Finally, specific airparticle parameters detailed in
Chapter 2 were used in an assessment of the developed power law exponents and co
efficient for different materials. The results of the airparticle assessment again showed
the sensitivity of the power law correlation on subsequent pressure drop prediction.
1.2.3 Solids velocity
In discussing the parameters used to define pneumatic conveying operating conditions,
the majority of the approaches used are weighted in response to the air motive force
requirement. This air based approach, is understandable as an operator needs to
determine the size of the air mover to convey their required tonnage. However, as the
approach in determining required air parameters is generally a global approach, the
variation in balance between the air energy and the resistance due to the particles and
the pipe will vary along the pipeline and depend on local conditions. For instance, it is
clear that for a constant diameter pipeline, if the air mass flow rate is constant, then the
velocity at the end of the pipeline is significantly greater than at the beginning of the
pipeline. This means that there is generally more kinetic energy available at the end of
the pipeline and as such the solids flow velocity will be higher.
For dilute phase systems, the air flow velocity gives a good indication of the particle
velocity, as the material is suspended in the air flow. For the dense phase flows, the air
interaction is significantly more complex due to permeation, deaeration and/or
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 12
fluidisation behaviour occurring. For fluidised dense phase flow, its pulsatile nature and
multilayered behaviour is difficult to model. However, a steady state two layer
approach to the dense phase layer was developed by Mason and Levi [25] and has had
some promising results in determining the dense phase layer height. Continuing on this
initial approach of modelling the solids flow, a dense phase continuum model was
developed (Chapter 6) which investigated the force balance between the air and the
resistance to the flow due to the dense layer resistance and the pipeline geometry (radial
force due to bends, and gravitational force).
Solids velocity solutions to the force balance model showed good agreement with the
expected behaviour around different bend configurations and straight pipeline
orientations. Although no quantitative comparison could be made to the solids velocity
due to the pulsatile nature of the flow, a qualitative approach in the solids velocity
behaviour was used to assess problems areas in the pipeline. In comparing the pipeline
geometry with the continuum models predicted solids velocity behaviour, it was
obvious that some pipeline orientations would cause operating problems; namely
vertical upward flow sections at the start and end of the test pipelines. However, what
was more interesting was that for slow moving dense phase capable material (Flyash
and Cement Meal), the bend where the material blocked correlated to a prediction of
deceleration in the straight pipe prior to the bend. This deceleration in the straight pipe
is important as it indicates that the air motive force is at a critical balance with the
resistive forces and will either drop below the minimum conveying velocity for the
material or will be insufficient once the flow enters the bend where additional radial
forces are present.
Obviously, the major problem in quantitatively comparing the solids velocity using the
current form of the continuum model is in the assumption of steady state conditions
which does not account for the resistance due to the material pulses (e.g. fluctuations in
bulk density, material bed height and flow velocity). However, as discussed in Chapter
8, this continuum model has potential to be used as the fundamental basis to develop a
nonsteady continuum model that reflects the local pulsatile behaviour of the material
flow.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 13
CHAPTER 2: PREDICTING CONVEYING MODES OF FLOW
To design a dense phase pneumatic conveying system, the designer will need to
establish whether the material will be able to be conveyed in a conventional pneumatic
conveying system or if more advanced features will be required (e.g. air bypass, air
knife, air booster systems) to enable dense phase flow. Certainly, if the material has a
natural dense phase capability, then the system costs will be reduced as a conventional
pipeline can be utilised for the dense phase flow of material. Furthermore, if this
natural dense phase capability can be established without the need for conveying trials,
then design costs have the potential to be further reduced.
Inevitably, mode of flow diagrams use parameters which the designer hopes will
sufficiently represent the conveyed material and the complexity in the determination of
these parameters will vary significantly. For instance, the particle density is a specific
particle parameter and for solid particles can be measured quite easily while the average
particle size parameter can vary, depending on the measurement method used (e.g.
mass, volume, surface area based measurements). Also, for dense phase pneumatic
conveying, the airparticle interactions are important, so parameters which reflect some
type of airparticle behaviour have also been used. Generally the airparticle parameters
require a more specialised testing procedure, for instance, the permeability value of a
material requires a bench scale fluidisation test to be conducted. Ultimately, the
availability of the testing equipment, its ease of use and the associated accuracy of the
parameters will determine if each diagram sufficiently encapsulates its dense phase
capability.
The main aim of this chapter is to review and assess the classification diagrams that
have either been borrowed from similar flow regimes or specifically developed by
researchers to determine a materials mode of flow capability. Also detailed are
alternate techniques to try to improve mode of flow prediction in these existing
diagrams. An alternative diagram is also proposed that bypasses the difficulties with
current different deaeration rate techniques by replacement with a bulk density
parameter (Chapter 2.4).
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 14
2.1 Bulk Material Parameters
The parameters used in the diagrams vary from basic particle parameters of size and
density, bulk density to the more complex airparticle parameters based on
fluidisation and deaeration behaviour. Discussed in the following subchapters are
some basic descriptions and definitions of these parameters.
2.1.1 Basic parameters
Initially, diagrams which where developed using combinations of basic material
parameters such as particle density, size and/or bulk density with the aim of providing
guidance on a bulk materials flow capability. These diagrams where either initially
designed for predicting fluidisation behaviour (e.g. Geldart [12] and Molerus [28]) or
specifically developed for some type of pneumatic conveying prediction (e.g. Dixon [8]
and Pan [35]). Although these diagrams were not designed for mode of flow prediction
(with the exception on Pan) they have been subsequently used to predict likely mode of
flow behaviour and as such are analysed in this thesis.
2.1.1.1 particle size distribution
There are numerous methods to establish the size distribution, for example, mechanical
sieving, sedimentation, microscopy and laser methods. Although relatively cheap to use,
generally mechanical sieving of fine powders is limited to a minimum sieve size of 45
m. As discussed by Rhodes [40], the sedimentation technique is most accurate to
particle sizes less than 50 m as the particle size is determined from Stokes law
relationship to the settling velocity of particles falling in a liquid. Microscopy generally
can detect particle sizes down to 5 m while laser diffraction is accurate in the range
0.12000 m [40]. Commonly, the most significant parameter determined from a
particle size distribution analysis is the mean (or average) particle size which is
calculated from either a mass or volumetric basis.
2.1.1.2 particle density
Generally, the particle density is defined as the mass of a particle divided by its
hydrodynamic volume, which is easily measured by a gas pycnometer or specific
gravity bottle for nonporous particles. For porous or fibrous material, the particle
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 15
density is more difficult to measure with Geldart [14] describing some techniques for
porous material. More recently, Donohue [9] has had success in defining the density of
fibrous materials by combining Scanning Electron Microscope imaging and pycnometer
results.
2.1.1.3 bulk density
The bulk density refers to the mass of a group of particles divided by the volume that
the particles and interstitial voids occupy. The bulk density value can vary depending on
the amount of volumetric compaction (higher bulk density) or expansion (lower bulk
density) that a material encounters. The loosepoured bulk density represents the bulk
density of material that has been poured into a container with no subsequent external
influence (i.e. no external force).
The bulk density of a material tends to increase as the size distribution is increased (e.g.
Heiskanen [16]) or when the volume of fines in a mixture is increased. This is due to the
smaller particles filling the interstitial voids of the larger particle sizes. This increased
particle contact generally increases the adhesion and internal friction (e.g. Geldart et al
[13]) of the bulk material creating a more cohesive material, especially in fine powders.
2.1.2 Airparticle parameters
Figure 5, idealised fluidisation diagram
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Super fi ci al gas vel oci t y (vf )
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t
(
P
/
L
)
increasing airflow
decreasing airflow
critical fluidisation point
minimum fluidisation velocity
Steady state fluidisation pressure
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 16
The gassolid interaction has also been established as a key feature with regard to the
suitability of materials for dense phase conveying. Pneumatic conveying predictive
diagrams generally utilise the gassolid parameters of permeability, deaeration and
steady state fluidisation pressure to estimate the likely mode of flow for a particular
granular material (e.g. [6][11][18][24][45]). Permeability and fluidisation pressure
parameters can be determined from well established particle fluidisation tests (Figure 5).
The general method in conducting a fluidisation test requires the fluid to flow vertically
upward through a column of bulk material with the equilibrium pressure measured
across the bed of material for a particular fluid flow setting. The fluid flow is then
incrementally increased or decreased with the associated pressure drop recorded and
then plotted to produce the fluidisation behaviour for the bulk material.
2.1.2.1 permeability
Permeability basically represents the materials ability to allow air to fill and flow
through the interstitial voids and is the pathway to fluidisation. The permeability factor
() is defined as the inverse of the slope of the first linear part of the fluidisation curve
(up to the critical fluidisation point), ie:
( ) ( ) L P d
dv
f
/
= (2.1)
2.1.2.2 steady state fluidisation pressure
The steady state fluidisation pressure (P/L)
ss
is the value where fluidisation pressure
becomes relatively constant for increasing or decreasing fluid velocities, as shown in
Figure 5. Also, the lowest velocity where the steady state fluidisation pressure is the
same for both increasing and decreasing airflow is defined as the minimum fluidisation
velocity (v
mf
).
2.1.2.3 deaeration
Another important parameter to measure is the materials ability to retain air, which is
also referred to as the deaeration rate. Basically, deaeration represents the time it takes
for a fluidised bulk material to decay to a steadystate bed height (or bulk density) once
the airflow is turned off. A general form of the deaeration behaviour can be seen in
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 17
Figure 6 where P is the pressure and L is the bed height at time t and L
o
is typically
the bed height at t =0.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Time
P
/
L
o
o
r
L
/
L
o
Figure 6, general form of a deaeration chart
Unfortunately at this time, there is no universally accepted technique or calculation to
determine the deaeration rate or factor for a material and this has limited the
application of this important behaviour in establishing a common mode of flow
predictive diagram. Generally researchers have utilised the change in bed height or a
change in air pressure to determine the deaeration behaviour. The different forms of the
deaeration parameter developed for mode of flow prediction is described in more detail
later in this chapter.
2.2 Mode of Flow Data
Basic and airparticle parameter data was collected for different granular materials
([18][24][35]) with known pneumatic conveying mode of flow capability from J ones
[18], Mainwaring and Reed [24] and Pan [35]. This mode of flow data was then
compared with the pneumatic conveying predictive diagrams, which are detailed in the
following subchapters. The mode of flow data for the fluidised dense phase capable
material is shown in Table 1, for dilute phase only material in Table 2 and for plug flow
capable material in Table 3. A More comprehensive list of parameters computed from
the Equations defined in this chapter for each material is detailed in Appendix A.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 18
Table 1
FLUIDISED DENSE PHASE CAPABLE MATERIAL
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
T
Y
P
E
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
D
E
N
S
I
T
Y
P
O
U
R
E
D
B
U
L
K
D
E
N
S
I
T
Y
M
E
A
N
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
S
I
Z
E
P
E
R
M
E
A
B
I
L
I
T
Y
V
I
B
R
A
T
E
D
D
E

A
E
R
A
T
I
O
N
C
O
N
S
T
A
N
T
[
1
8
]
D
E

A
E
R
A
T
I
O
N
F
A
C
T
O
R
[
2
4
]
S
T
E
A
D
Y
S
T
A
T
E
F
L
U
I
D
I
S
A
T
I
O
N
P
R
E
S
S
U
R
E
R
E
F
E
R
E
N
C
E
[kg m
3
] [kg m
3
] [m]
x 10
6
[m
3
s kg
1
]
x 10
6
[m s
1
]
x 10
6
[kPa s m
1
] [kPa m
1
]
Flyash 1 2197 634 16    
Flyash 2 2217 957 12    
Pulverised Coal 1 1600 538 42    
Pulverised Coal 2 1590 541 15    
Pulverised Coal 3 1590 563 20    
Pulverised Coal 4 1580 568 33    
Pulverised Coal 5 1415 588 46    
Pulverised Coal 6 1500 400 40    
Pulverised Coal 7 1539 368 26    
[35]
Cement 3160 1030 22 0.50  175 8.7
Pulverised Coal 1500 610 44 0.60  110 2.5
Flour 1470 514 78 0.50  5 2.4
Pulverised Fuel
Ash 2450 980 20 0.30  290 7.5
[24]
Pulverised Fuel
Ash 2446 979 25 0.60 2.0  6.5
Copper Ore 3950 1660 55 0.33 9.8  7.5
Coal (Pulverised) 1550 393 84 0.53 4.3  3.5
Flour 1470 510 90 1.30 6.2  2.0
PVC Powder 990 615 90 1.20 8.0  4.5
Pearlite 800 100 158 5.70 8.8  0.4
Iron Powder 5710 2380 64 0.34 7.0  6.0
Granulated Sugar
(Degraded) 1580 656 157 1.40 8.3  2.5
Agriculture Catalyst
(degraded) 4660 760 270 1.70 6.7  3.0
Barytes 4250 1590 11 0.48 3.9  12
Cement 3060 1070 14 0.71 3.0  7.5
[18]
Cement Meal 3000 930 11 0.08  13 8.5
Flyash 2510 810 19 0.23  20 5.1
Alumina 3300 1050 78 0.39  1.8 8.2
See
Chap.
3.1
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 19
Table 2
DILUTE PHASE ONLY MATERIAL
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
T
Y
P
E
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
D
E
N
S
I
T
Y
P
O
U
R
E
D
B
U
L
K
D
E
N
S
I
T
Y
M
E
A
N
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
S
I
Z
E
P
E
R
M
E
A
B
I
L
I
T
Y
V
I
B
R
A
T
E
D
D
E

A
E
R
A
T
I
O
N
C
O
N
S
T
A
N
T
[
1
8
]
D
E

A
E
R
A
T
I
O
N
F
A
C
T
O
R
[
2
4
]
S
T
E
A
D
Y
S
T
A
T
E
F
L
U
I
D
I
S
A
T
I
O
N
P
R
E
S
S
U
R
E
R
E
F
E
R
E
N
C
E
[kg m
3
] [kg m
3
] [m]
x 10
6
[m
3
s kg
1
]
x 10
6
[m s
1
]
x 10
6
[kPa s m
1
] [kPa m
1
]
High Silica Flux 2664 1519 300    
Primary
Concentrate 4742 2778 142    
[35]
Slate Dust 2860 1280 500 0.6  4.5 11
Zircon Sand 4610 2600 115 1.3  62.4 20
Pulverised Fuel
Ash (Grits) 2380 400 700 11  0.18 2.0
[24]
Alumina 3600 1040 79 0.42 19  6.5
Coal (Degraded) 1550 701 146 1 2.9  
Zircon Sand 4600 2600 120 1.3 10  20.0
Potassium
Sulphate 2625 1260 131 0.99 18  
Silica Sand 2630 1450 174 3.9 34  10.0
Magnesium
Sulphate 2353 1010 224 6.3 17  6.0
Potassium
Chloride 1987 1010 384 11 26  8.0
Granulated Sugar 1580 890 458 20 13  5.0
Coal (as Supplied) 1550 870 778 42 24  
Agriculture
Catalyst (ICI) 4655 767 782 23 23  4.5
[18]
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow 20
Table 3
PLUG FLOW CAPABLE MATERIAL
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
T
Y
P
E
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
D
E
N
S
I
T
Y
P
O
U
R
E
D
B
U
L
K
D
E
N
S
I
T
Y
M
E
A
N
P
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
S
I
Z
E
P
E
R
M
E
A
B
I
L
I
T
Y
V
I
B
R
A
T
E
D
D
E

A
E
R
A
T
I
O
N
C
O
N
S
T
A
N
T
[
1
8
]
D
E

A
E
R
A
T
I
O
N
F
A
C
T
O
R
[
2
4
]
S
T
E
A
D
Y
S
T
A
T
E
F
L
U
I
D
I
S
A
T
I
O
N
P
R
E
S
S
U
R
E
R
E
F
E
R
E
N
C
E
[kg m
3
] [kg m
3
] [m]
x 10
6
[m
3
s kg
1
]
x 10
6
[m s
1
]
x 10
6
[kPa s m
1
] [kPa m
1
]
Narasin 1745 880 325    
Black Plastic
Pellets 834 458 3760    
White Plastic
Pellets 1 1039 637 2980    
White Plastic
Pellets 2 865 494 3120    
White Plastic
Pellets 3 887 538 3684    
White Plastic
Pellets 4 895 526 3747    
Wheat 1 1356 775 3788    
Wheat 2 1416 778 3502    
Wheat 3 1449 811 3470    
Duaralina 1494 688 349    
Semolina 1459 736 390    
Barley 1350 722 3910    
[35]
Mustard Seed 1180 680 1650 129  0.46 4.8
Polyethylene
Powder 990 480 825 20  0.43 3.1
Sand 2620 1540 1020 62  0.45 11.8
Polyethylene
Pellets 914 558 3850 80  0.4 3.8
Granulated
Sugar 1590 820 720 21  2.4 6.0
[24]
Polyethelene
Pellets 912 540 4000 420 60  
Mustard Seed 1180 680 1650 129 37  4.8
[18]
 Original data not available
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
21
Please note that although Flyash and Pulverised Fuel Ash are basically the same
product type, for the preceding tables, the descriptions used by each individual
researcher was used for easier reference to the original data.
2.3 Predictive Diagrams
The approach taken in determining the relationship between different particle and bulk
parameters with mode of flow prediction varies significantly between different
researchers. The aim of this review is to describe each researchers approach and assess
their mode of flow predictive performance against the mode of flow data detailed in
Table 1, Table 2 and Table 3. Also, when fluid (or gas) properties were required
(density, viscosity, temperature), values associated with air at standard atmospheric
conditions were used.
2.3.1 Basic bulk material diagrams
The diagrams initially used to predict pneumatic conveying capabilities were built on
the pioneering work of fluidisation behaviour developed by Geldart [12] in 1973.
Geldart derived four distinct groups for bulk material fluidisation classification, A, B, C
and D which utilised basic bulk material parameters of particle density and average
particle diameter, as shown in Figure 7. Generally, the Geldart fluidisation groups can
be characterised by a bulk materials behaviour undergoing a fluidisation process.
Group C materials are cohesive powders, which are difficult to fluidise. These powders
generally lift as a plug of bulk material or vertical and inclined cracks (channels) are
formed by the fluidising gas within the bulk material. Fluidisation has been achieved in
these powders by vibrating the chamber or mechanically stirring the powder to break
down the formation of the channels. Group A materials are aeratable powders which are
relatively easy to fluidise. These powders also have a high air retention (i.e. the bed
collapse is slow when the carrier air is shut off). Group B materials are granular
materials and generally exhibit bubbling in the bed at or slightly above the minimum
fluidisation velocity. The bed of these materials collapses very quickly in comparison
to group A materials. The group D materials are the larger diameter granular materials
and have a high permeability which makes them difficult to fluidise. They are often
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
22
described as spoutable powders due to their ability to maintain stable spouts when
air is entered through a single hole.
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter ( m)
P
a
r
t
i
c
l
e

G
a
s
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
C
A
B D
Figure 7, Geldarts fluidisation diagram
Some aspects of the fluidising behaviour of particulate materials within these
fluidisation groups can also be related to certain aspects of pneumatic conveying
behaviour. Generally, Group A materials tend to exhibit high levels of air retention
capability and therefore maybe suited to fluidised dense phase flow. Group C materials
are rather more difficult to fluidise initially but also exhibit good air retention
capabilities once fluidised, therefore are also potential candidates for fluidised dense
phase. By contrast, Group D materials tend to be highly permeable provided the size
range is not too wide. Materials with very narrow size distributions that reside in group
D tend to be potential candidates for the plug mode of dense phase conveying.
Materials in Group B usually exhibit poor air retention capability and are not
particularly permeable. Materials in this category are generally not good candidates for
dense phase conveying in conventional pipelines.
The boundaries of Geldarts diagram have been discussed and compared by numerous
researches using different techniques, but with the material classifications of particle
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
23
size and particle density remaining the same. Molerus [28] in 1982 specifically
looked at the adhesion forces in determining some of the boundaries. Grace [15] in 1986
derived dimensionless parameters based on superficial gas velocity and particle
diameter which described the boundaries of Geldarts bulk material classification.
Dixon [8] in 1979 developed a slugging diagram, which is loosely based on and has the
same axes as Geldarts diagram. Dixons diagram classifies bulk materials according to
their ability to slug in vertical columns. Pan [35] in 1999 developed a diagram which
replaced particle density with bulk density to try to predict the likely mode of flow.
2.3.1.1 Geldarts fluidisation diagram
When developing his fluidisation diagram, Geldarts approach in defining the
boundaries between each bulk material fluidisation group varied, depending upon the
characteristics of the bulk material under fluidisation conditions. Geldarts AC
boundary was determined from empirical data derived from the observed fluidisation
behaviour of previously tested powders. Geldarts boundary between groups A and B is
derived from the relationship between the minimum bubbling velocity (v
mb
) and the
minimum fluidisation velocity (v
mf
). Geldart determined that if the powder fluidised
before bubbles were observed, then the powders belonged to group A. This gave the A
B boundary to be:
1 =
mf
mb
v
v
(2.2)
For air at ambient conditions and relating d
p
and
p
, Equation 2.2 was reduced by
Geldart to:
3
10 225 ) (
=
p g p
d (2.3)
where d
p
is the mean particle diameter (in m),
p
and
g
are particle and gas densities
respectively (in kg m
3
).
Geldarts distinction of the BD boundary is that the bubbles that form in the D material
group travel more slowly near the bottom of the bed and faster at the top of the bed than
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
24
the interstitial gas passing through the bed. Geldarts derivation of these bubbling
conditions ultimately represented his BD boundary as:
3 2
10 ) (
=
p g p
d (2.4)
A comparison of Geldarts chart with the mode of flow data shows that if a material is
able to be fluidised and falls within the A or C type categories, then it is highly likely to
be a fluidised dense phase capable material, as shown in Figure 8. It appears that D type
material that is relatively light (<2000 kg m
3
) has the ability to be conveyed in plug
type flow. However, it is less clear on the likely performance capability of B type
material, as Figure 8 shows that the three pneumatic conveying modes all fall within the
B type boundaries. It is clear that even though Geldarts diagram was not developed for
mode of flow prediction, the diagram does have some predictive capability.
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter (m)
P
a
r
t
i
c
l
e
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug type
B D
A/C
Figure 8, Geldart fluidisation diagram with the mode of flow data
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
25
2.3.1.1.1 replacing particle density with loosepoured bulk density
In dense phase pneumatic conveying, the behaviour of the bulk is in many ways more
important than that of individual particles. Also, the mean particle diameter does not
represent the total size distribution and bulk behaviour of the bulk material, which
realistically is important in the mode of flow capability of a material. It is for these
reasons that the loose poured bulk density was investigated as a means to improve
mode of flow prediction is the basic parameter diagrams. To determine if the loose
poured bulk density provides a better indicator of pneumatic conveying performance
than particle density, Geldarts diagram was modified using a similar technique
described by Pan [35].
Pan stated that if the carrier gas is air at ambient conditions, then the density of the air
can be neglected and the particle density is related to bulk density by the equation:
) 1 (
) (
=
bl
p g p
(2.5)
where is the voidage of the material and
bl
is the loose poured bulk density. For
Geldarts BD boundary, Equation (2.5) is substituted into Equation (2.4), giving the
result of:
w k
d
p bl
= = ) 1 (
10
9
2
(2.6)
where k and w are determined from the materials close to Geldarts BD boundary as
these materials have the most influence on this boundary. For the loose poured bulk
density relationship defined in Equation 2.5, information on mean particle diameter,
particle density and loosepoured bulk density was collected from different researchers
for approximately 100 different types of material (i.e. [1][13][17][18][23][24][35][50]).
From this material data, the relationship between k and w (basically an average bulk
density conversion factor) can be seen in Figure 9.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
26
From Figure 9 and Equation 2.6, the relationship between mean particle diameter and
loose poured bulk density for Geldarts BD boundary was calculated as:
6 2
10 539 =
p bl
d (2.7)
Geldarts AB boundary was similarly derived when loosepoured bulk density replaced
particle density in Equation 2.2. The equations which define Geldarts modified
boundaries which utilise loose poured bulk density can be seen in Table 4.
Table 4, the modified Geldart boundaries using loosepoured bulk density
Boundary
Average bulk density
conversion factor (1)
Modified Geldart
AB 0.538
3
10 121
=
p bl
d
BD 0.539
6 2
10 539
=
p bl
d
The materials detailed in the mode of flow tables were also plotted onto the Modified
Geldart diagram, as can be seen in Figure 10. In comparison to the predictive
performance of Geldarts original fluidisation diagram (Figure 8), the major
improvement in utilising loose poured bulk density has been that bulk materials which
reside in the D type region are all capable of being conveying in plug flow. Also, B type
bulk materials that have a loose poured bulk density greater than 1000 kg/m
3
show
dilute phase only capabilities.
Figure 9, relationship between the parameters k and w detailed in Equation 2.6
y =0.5391x
0
4
8
12
16
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
k
w
w =0.539k
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
27
It is important and interesting to note that although Geldart established his A, B, C
and D powder criteria for solely predicting fluidisation behaviour, his diagram shows
strong areas of pneumatic conveying mode of flow predictive capability.
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter (m)
P
a
r
t
i
c
l
e
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug type
B D
A/C
Figure 10, modified Geldart fluidisation diagram utilising loose poured bulk density
with the mode of flow data
2.3.1.2 Moleruss fluidisation diagram
Molerus [28] in 1982 investigated the application of particle adhesion equations to
define the boundaries between Geldarts fluidisation classification groups. Like
Geldarts diagram, Molerus was looking at fluidisation performance of a bulk material
rather than pneumatic conveying performance, however as will be shown below, there
are some mode of flow predictive capabilities using this diagram.
As shown with the Geldart diagram analysis, the CA group boundary is not entirely
relevant to pneumatic conveying performance, however for completeness, Moleruss C
A boundary is included and described below:
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
28
1
3
) ( 10
K
F
g d
H
p g p
=
(2.8)
where F
H
is the adhesion of two isolated particles in contact with each other (F
H
8.76
x 10
8
and K
1
10
2
for hard particles [28]). A model developed by Rietema [39] also
considered the adhesion forces for this boundary in conjunction with the elastic
modulus of the particle. Unfortunately, as stated in Rietemas paper, the model cannot
be easily converted into a d
p
versus
p
graph due to the reported relationship theories
between the elastic modulus and d
p
being contradictory.
Moleruss AB boundary is defined by the equation:
2
3
6
) (
K
F
g d
H
p
g p
=
(2.9)
whereK
2
0.16 for hard particles.
Molerus used the simple criterion for the BD boundary in that the inertia forces of
coarse granular particles are more dominant than the viscous forces, and as such, the
adhesion force is insignificant in D type material. Moleruss BD boundary is defined
by the equation:
3 . 15 ) ( = g d
p g p
(2.10)
An analysis of the mode of flow predictive capability of Moleruss diagram was
conducted using the mode of flow data, as shown in Figure 11. In Moleruss diagram,
the bulk materials that are to the left of Moleruss AB boundary are excellent
candidates for fluidised dense phase flow, which is of similar performance to Geldarts
diagram even though the boundaries are based on different criteria. Also of similar
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
29
performance to the Geldart diagram, light D type material in Moleruss diagram are
good candidates for plug type flow while there is poor correlation between the B type
material and pneumatic conveying capability.
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter ( m)
P
a
r
t
i
c
l
e
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug type
B D
A
C
Figure 11, Molerus fluidisation diagram with the mode of flow data
Moleruss boundaries were also modified by replacing particle with loose poured bulk
density using Equation 2.5. For Moleruss AB boundary, Equation 2.5 is substituted
into Equation 2.9 for hard particles, giving the result of:
1 1
3
) 1 ( w k d
p blp
= = (2.11)
where k
1
=6F
H
K
2
/(g) and w
1
=0.538 k
1
, (bulk density conversion factor for the AB
boundary from Table 4). Moleruss BD boundary (Equation 2.10) was also modified
with loosepoured bulk density replacing particle density. The equations of the modified
Molerus boundaries can be seen in Table 5 and are plotted together with the pneumatic
conveying data in Figure 12.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
30
Table 5, the modified Molerus boundaries (hard particles)
using loosepoured bulk density
Boundary Molerus Modified Molerus
AB
9 3
10 73 . 2 ) (
=
p g p
d
9 3
10 47 . 1
=
p bl
d
BD 56 . 1 ) ( =
p g p
d 841 . 0 =
p bl
d
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter ( m)
L
o
o
s
e

P
o
u
r
e
d
B
u
l
k
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug flow
B D
A/C
Figure 12, modified Molerus fluidisation diagram utilising loose poured bulk density
with the mode of flow data
The results seen in Figure 12 shows similar improvement in mode of flow prediction
outcomes when compared to the modified Geldart chart (Figure 10). The notable
improvements are that all the D type materials appear to be excellent candidates for plug
flow with the heavier B type materials showing only dilute phase capabilities. This
mode of flow analysis shows that even though the Molerus and Geldart boundary
criteria differ, there is no significant variation in mode of flow prediction between these
two researchers diagrams.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
31
2.3.1.3 Dixons slugging diagram
Dixon [8] in 1979 developed a material slugging diagram which predicted the ability of
a material to form either axisymmetric slugs, weak asymmetric slugs (dunes) or form no
slugs at all. Specifically, Dixons boundaries continued the vertical dense phase
analysis of Yangs [58] criterion where Yang compared the particle behaviour in a
fluidised column with the gas slug velocity (v
sp
). Yangs criterion was defined as:
( )
5 . 0
35 . 0 gD K v
sp sp
= (2.12)
where D is the pipe diameter (m) and K
sp
=1 for axisymmetric slugs; K
sp
=2 for
asymmetric slugs.
Dixon proposed that if the single particle terminal velocity (v
t
) was less that the slug
velocity, then no stable slugs would form, therefore, the boundary between no slugging
and asymmetric slugs occurs when v
t
= v
sp
, which is similar to Geldarts concept of
unity between the bubbling and fluidisation velocities (Equation 2.2) for the AB type
bulk material boundaries. For a fluid Reynolds number between 2 and 500, Dixon
defines the single particle terminal velocity as:
( )
285 . 0 428 . 0
714 . 0 714 . 0 14 . 1
152 . 0
a
a s p
t
g d
v
= (2.13)
where
a
and are the air density and viscosity respectively.
Dixon also proposed that if the minimum fluidisation velocity (v
mf
) is less that the slug
velocity, then full bore plug flow cannot occur as there will not be adequate permeation
through the slug of material to form a stable axisymmetric slug. Again, a unity balance
forms the basis of the boundary between asymmetric and axisymmetric slugging where
v
mf
= v
sp
. On the assumption that the pressure drop supports the weight of a bed of
material (i.e. dP/dx =
s
(1)), Dixon determined the minimum fluidisation velocity
from Erguns [10] equation:
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
32
( )
p
mf a
p
mf
s
gd
v
gd
v
2
3 2 3
2
) 1 (
75 . 1
) 1 (
150 1
= (2.14)
Applying Equations 2.11, 2.12, 2.13 and 2.14 for air at atmospheric conditions with an
air density of 1.225 kg m
3
(Note: higher air densities will move Dixons boundaries to
the right), air viscosity of 1.78 x 10
5
kg m s
1
and a voidage of 0.462, the Dixon
boundaries were determined and are detailed in Table 6.
Also detailed in Table 6, are the modified Dixon boundaries which replace the particle
density with loose poured bulk density (using the same process as for the Modified
Geldart and Modified Molerus boundaries). Furthermore, these boundaries were plotted
for 50, 75 and 100 mm internal pipe diameters and are shown in Figure 13 for Dixons
original boundaries and Figure 14 for the modified boundaries.
Table 6, Dixon and modified Dixon Boundaries (air at ambient conditions)
Boundary Dixon Modified Dixon
No slugging
asymmetric
slugs
( )
3
5 . 0
714 . 0 14 . 1
10 136 =
D
d
a s p
3
5 . 0
714 . 0 14 . 1
10 4 . 87 =
D
d
bl p
asymmetric
axisymmetric
slugs
( )
D
d
D
d D
d
p a
p
a s p
+
5 . 0
3
5 . 0
68 . 2
10 64 . 1
5 . 0
3
5 . 0
44 . 1
10 885 . 0
D
d D
d
p
bl p
+
Figure 13 shows that bulk materials which are predicted to have no slugging capability
are excellent candidates for fluidised dense phase conveying for the 50 100 mm pipe
diameters. There basically is no predictive capability of Dixons diagram for
determining either dilute phase only or plug type capable material as the weak
axisymmetric and strong axisymmetric slug areas have a significant combination of the
three types of mode of flow capable material. For instance, the weak asymmetric slug
area for 50 mm pipes encapsulates 5 fluidised dense phase material, 11 dilute phase and
3 plug type flow capable material while the strong axisymmetric slug area contains 25%
(4) of dilute phase only and 75% (12) plug type flow material.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
33
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter ( m)
P
a
r
t
i
c
l
e
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug type
strong
axisymmetric
slugs
no
slugging
weak
axisymmetric
slugs
50 mm
75 mm
100 mm
pipe dia.
Figure 13, Dixon slugging diagram with the mode of flow data
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter ( m)
L
o
o
s
e
P
o
u
r
e
d
B
u
l
k
d
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug type
no slugging
weak
axisymmetric
slugs
strong
axisymmetric
slugs
Figure 14, modified Dixon slugging diagram utilising loose poured bulk density with
the mode of flow data
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
34
The modified Dixon boundaries displayed in Figure 14 show only a marginal
increased capability in predicting plug type flow material as less dilute only capable
material reside in the strong axisymmetric slug region. The weak axisymmetric slug
region shows a predictive capability for dilute phase only material which have a bulk
density greater than 1000 kg/m
3
. The bulk material in the no slugging region still
appear to have excellent fluidised dense phase capability.
2.3.1.4 Pans pneumatic conveying predictive diagram
Pan [35] in 1999 developed a diagram which replaced particle density with loose
poured bulk density and was specifically designed to try to predict the likely mode of
flow capability of a material. Pan classified the three potential modes of pneumatic
conveying as PC1 for fluidised dense phase, PC2 for plug type and PC3 for dilute only
flow. Pan utilised the same process that Geldart used in determining the AB boundary
but substituted loose poured bulk density for particle density (as was previously
detailed in chapter 2.3.1.1) to calculate the Boundary between PC1 and PC2/3 material.
Furthermore, the boundary between PC2 and PC3 material was empirically based and
independent of particle size. Pans boundaries are detailed in Table 7 and displayed with
the mode of flow data in Figure 15.
Table 7, Boundaries for Pans diagram
Boundary Pan
PC1 PC2/3
1206 . 0 =
bl p
d
PC2 PC3
1000 =
bl
As shown in Figure 15, PC1 materials are excellent candidates for fluidised dense phase
flow, which was expected as the PC1 PC2/3 boundary is virtually the same as the
modified Geldart AB boundary shown in Figure 10. Bulk materials which fall into the
PC3 category generally appear to be dilute phase capable only. Unfortunately, with the
data presented, there is no clear mode of flow predictive capability for PC2 material
with d
p
<1000 m. The area designated as PC2 material greater than 1000 m show
good predictive capability for plug type flow materials.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
35
100
1000
10000
10 100 1000 10000
Mean Particle Diameter (m)
L
o
o
s
e
P
o
u
r
e
d
B
u
l
k
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug type
PC1
PC3
PC2
Figure 15, Pans pneumatic conveying predictive diagram with the mode of flow data
2.3.2 Airparticle bulk material diagrams
Understandably, the main disadvantages of the previous basic particle diagrams are the
use of the mean particle diameter, which is realistically a simple ranking parameter for
bulk materials. To improve the accuracy of predicting the likely pneumatic conveying
mode of flow prediction, material parameters firstly have to better reflect the size
distribution and shape variation in the bulk material and secondly, have to reflect the air
interaction with the material in the pneumatic conveying system. These considerations
has been led a number of researchers to specifically investigate parameters which
describe some type of airparticle behaviour. These parameters measure the response of
a large volume of particles to some type of air interaction, in particular, the parameters
associated with the bench scale tests of fluidisation and deaeration. Mainwaring and
Reed [24] proposed a two diagram predictive technique which utilised the parameters of
steady state pressure, permeability and deaeration while J ones [18] developed a single
chart system which compared the permeability of a material with its deaeration
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
36
behaviour under mechanical vibration. Single dimensionless parameters have also
been developed by Chambers et al [6] and Fargette et al [11] which utilise the
combination airparticle behaviours of permeability and deaeration with particle or
bulk density. Sanchez et al [45] developed a two parameter dimensionless diagram
using permeability and deaeration rate, gravitational forces, conveying gas properties
and particle size. These airparticle based predictive diagrams are analysed in more
detail in the following subchapters.
Unfortunately, due to no information available for the permeability, steady state
fluidisation pressure and deaeration values, only some of the materials in Table 1,
Table 2 and Table 3 are used for airparticle based data analysis, and therefore the data
set is smaller when compared with the basic parameters diagrams. Also, due to the
varied techniques used by different researchers in determining a deaeration value, a
normalised deaeration value was calculated for some materials and is explained in the
relevant subchapters.
2.3.2.1 Mainwaring and Reed diagram
Mainwaring and Reed [24] in 1987 developed a two diagram predictive technique
comprised of determining the steady state fluidisation pressure (P/L)
ss
and
permeability of a material using bench scale fluidisation tests, as described in chapter
2.1.2. Mainwaring developed a deaeration constant (A
F
) which was based on a best fit
approach on determining the relationship between time (t) and the pressure drop decay
plot from fluidisation pressure to atmospheric pressure, i.e:
F
A t
L
P
=
(2.15)
The first diagram in Mainwarings technique was designed to distinguish between the
high permeability behaviour of plug flow capable material and the low permeability
behaviour seen in dilute only and fluidised dense phase bulk material. As shown in
Figure 16a, the mode of flow data generally supports Mainwarings proposal that
material above the minimum fluidisation velocity (v
mf
) of 50 mm/s are plug flow
capable, i.e:
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
37
s mm
L
P
v
ss
mf
/ 50 =
= (2.16)
Figure 16a Figure 16b
Figure 16, Mainwaring and Reed pneumatic conveying predictive diagrams with the
mode of flow data
The second diagram, Figure 16b, assesses the behaviour of a bulk material by
calculating a deaeration constant, defined in Equation 2.15, divided by the particle
density (i.e. A
F
/
s
) with the steady state fluidisation pressure.
0.01
0.1
1
10
100
1000
0 5 10 15 20
P/L (Pa/m)
p
e
r
m
e
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
(
m
2
/
P
a
.
s
)
FDMainwaring DLMainwaring PLMainwaring
FDChapter 3 FDJ ones DLJ ones
PLJ ones
50mm/s line of
constant
fluidisation
velocity
Plug flow
Dilute
phase only
Fluidised dense phase
0.1
1
10
100
1000
0 5 10 15 20
P/L (Pa/m)
A
F
/
s
(
P
a
s
m
2
/
k
g
)
10
100
1000
1
/
K
'
v
(
s
/
m
)
[
J
o
n
e
s
d
a
t
a
o
n
l
y
]
FDMainwaring DLMainwaring PLMainwaring
FDChapter 3 FDJ ones DLJ ones
PLJ ones
X=0.001 m
3
s/kg
Plug flow
Dilute phase
only
Fluidised dense
phase
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
38
Unfortunately, the method used by J ones [18] to determine his vibrated deaeration
value (Kv, see Chapter 2.3.2.2) does not have a direct relationship to Mainwaring and
Reeds definition of deaeration. The principle difference of J oness approach to
Mainwarings is that J oness deaeration analysis is determined from the time it takes
for the material to settle from the as poured state to the consolidated state, using
vertical vibration as the forcing mechanism. Mainwarings deaeration value is derived
from a bed collapse assessment from the fluidised state to the as poured state.
However, to better visualise the clustering of pneumatic conveying behaviour, it was
decided to still incorporate J oness data and represent the value of the inverse of J oness
vibrated deaeration value on a secondary ordinate axis. The data points in Figure 16b
supports Mainwaring and Reed proposition that bulk materials which exhibit high air
retention are fluidised dense phase capable if their data points were above the line
defined as X=0.001 m
3
s/kg, where X is derived from Equation 2.15 as:
s
F
A
X
L
P
(2.17)
Furthermore, from Figure 16b, the empirical relationship between J oness vibrated de
aeration constant and Mainwaring and Reeds deaeration factor is of the form:
c
s
F
v K
Y
A
=
'
1
(2.18)
where the relationship between dimensional constant Y (Pa m
3
kg
1
s
1
) and exponent c
can be determined from Figure 17.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
39
Figure 17, proposed relationship between Jones and Mainwaring deaeration constants
2.3.2.2 Jones diagram
J ones [18] in 1988 also used permeability and deaeration analysis to develop a model
for classifying materials for pneumatic conveying. The main difference of J oness
model from Mainwarings model is that the pneumatic mode of flow classification of
each material is determined from only one diagram, as shown in Figure 18. The
permeability value is determined from the same fluidisation process described in
Chapter 2.1.2. Further to the discussion in the previous subchapter of J oness de
aeration value, J ones applied the bin aeration analysis of Sutton and Richmond [48] to
determine his vibrated deaeration constant (Kv). The basis of this vibrated deaeration
value related the rate of change in bulk density (or bed height) of a column of bulk
material to the consolidated vibrated state defined as:
L
v K
dt
d
b b
= ' (2.19)
J oness model also classifies bulk materials into the same three pneumatic conveying
mode of flow categories previously described with the boundaries empirically derived.
A
F
/
s
=0.001 (1/K'v )
2
0.1
1
10
100
1000
10 100 1000
1/K'v (s/m)
A
F
/
s
(
P
a
s
/
m
2
)
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
40
Again, the mode of flow data that had deaeration values were plotted in Figure 18,
with the relationship between Mainwarings deaeration parameter
s
/A
F
and Kv
(Equation 2.18) also plotted on a secondary ordinate axis. The clustering of the
pneumatic conveying data into the three modes of flow can clearly be seen in J oness
model (Figure 18). J oness mode of flow boundaries still show reasonable agreement
with mode of flow prediction, even with the addition of the data from Mainwaring and
Reed and data from the three materials detailed in Chapter 3.1. Importantly, a distinct
dilute phase only region can be seen in J oness diagram, which was not as clearly
shown in the basic bulk material diagrams discussed in Chapter 2.3.1.
Figure 18, J oness pneumatic classification diagram with the mode of flow data
2.3.2.3 Chambers et al parameter
Chambers et al [6] in 1998 proposed the use of a single nondimensional parameter (N
C
)
based on particle density, permeability and a deaeration time (t
DA
), defined as:
DA
s
C
t
N
= (2.20)
1
10
100
0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000
permeability (x10
6
m
2
/Pa s)
K
'
v
(
x
1
0

3
m
/
s
)
[
J
o
n
e
s
d
a
t
a
o
n
l
y
]
0.001
0.01
0.1
1
10
s
/
A
F
(
k
g
/
P
a
s
m
2
)
FDJ ones DLJ ones
PLJ ones FDMainwaring
DLMainwaring PLMainwaring
FDChapter 3
Dilute
phase
only
Plug flow
Fluidised dense
phase
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
41
t
da
was derived from an exponential time decay relationship with the change in bed
height (L) to the fluidised bed height (L
o
)ratio, i.e.:
DA o
t
t
L
L
exp (2.21)
Chambers suggested that it was only necessary to estimate t
DA
in the range 1<t
DA
<10
seconds as any material with a decay time greater than 10 seconds showed good air
retention and less than 1 second had poor air retention capability. Unfortunately, there is
no information on bed height for the mode of flow data to determine t
DA
using
Chambers approach, so a calculated time decay deaeration value, t
c
, (in seconds) was
determined from Mainwarings deaeration factor (A
F
) and the steady state fluidisation
pressure using the following equation:
1
=
ss
F c
L
P
A t (2.22)
Subsequently, Equation 2.22 was used to replace the t
DA
value described in Equations
2.20 and 2.21 to form a modified Chambers parameter (N
C(mod)
), i.e.:
c
s
C
t
N
=
(mod)
(2.23)
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
42
Figure 19, diagram representing the modified Chambers pneumatic conveying
predictive parameter N
C(mod)
with the mode of flow data
Figure 19 is a presentation of the values calculated for N
C(mod)
which illustrates the
values associated with the different modes of flow. Figure 19 shows that N
C(mod)
<8 x
10
4
predicts all but one of the fluidised dense phase capable material and for N
C(mod)
>
0.07 all the material except one is plug flow capable. This also indicates that N
C(mod)
can
accurately predict dilute phase only capable material (0.07 <N
C(mod)
<8 x 10
4
) and
overall is a good predictor of pneumatic conveying mode of flow capability.
2.3.2.4 Fargette et al parameter
Around the same time as Chambers et al developed their nondimensional parameter,
Fargette et al [11] proposed a nondimensional parameter (). The form of Fargettes
parameter is the inverse of the Chambers parameter, but uses loose poured bulk density
rather than particle density, i.e.:
bl f
c
P
t
= (2.24)
0.00001
0.0001
0.001
0.01
0.1
1
10
0.3
N
C
(
m
o
d
)
=
/
t
c
FDJ ones
DLJ ones
PLJ ones
FDMainwaring
DLMainwaring
PLMainwaring
FDChapter 3
Plug flow
Dilute phase only
Fluidised dense
phase
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
43
Fargette determined his deaeration value from the pressure decay relationship for a
fluidised bed of material and is calculated from the time it takes for the pressure to reach
zero from the steady state fluidisation pressure, once the airflow is switched off, i.e. the
same as the calculated deaeration value (t
c
) described in the previous subchapter. For
the material in the mode of flow data that had deaeration values, t
c
was calculated
using Equation 2.22. Fargette also determined a bulk material cohesion value for
comparison with in order to produce a mode of flow prediction chart. The cohesion
value was determined from the yield loci of bulk material flow property tests.
Unfortunately, flow property tests were not available to determine a cohesion value for
the material detailed in the mode of flow data, so a comparison of the data with only
the parameter was produced, as shown in Figure 20
Figure 20, diagram representing the Fargette pneumatic conveying predictive parameter
with the mode of flow data
The predictive performance shown of Fargettes nondimensional parameter (Figure
20) displays similar accuracy to the modified Chambers nondimensional parameter,
N
C(mod)
as there is a distinct dilute phase only region (18 < <4000). In this region all
0.1
1
10
100
1000
10000
100000
1000000
0.3
=
t
c
/
(
b
l
)
FDJ ones
DLJ ones
PLJ ones
FDMainwaring
DLMainwaring
PLMainwaring
FDChapter 3
Plug flow
Dilute phase only
Fluidised dense
phase
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
44
the dilute phase capable material are contained with only one plug type and one
fluidised dense phase capable material contained within this region. The performance of
Fargettes parameter is similar to the Chambers parameter N
c(mod)
,
and as such appears
to give an excellent mode of flow capability prediction for both fluidised dense phase
flow and plug flow.
2.3.2.5 Sanchez et al diagram
Sanchet et al [45] in 2003 related pneumatic conveying predictive diagrams and their
relationship to the Geldart classifications described in Chapter 2.3.1.1. Sanchez
conducted nondimensional analysis on the basic and airparticle bulk material
parameters and found that the best correlation to the Geldart groups was a three
dimensional relationship between three stated nondimensional parameters; Grt (a de
aeration based parameter), P* (a permeability based parameter) and Fr
mf
(A minimum
fluidisation velocity based Froude number). Sanchezs parameters were defined as:
p
p s
d
gd
P
= * (2.25)
( )
DA
g s p
t
d
Grt
2 /
+
= (2.26)
p
mf
mf
gd
v
Fr = (2.27)
In its current form, the Grt parameter is dimensional with units of m which suggest that
the d
p
component should be d
p
2
. Sanchez determines his deaeration value from an
exponential pressure drop decay equation of the form:
DA o
t
t
L
P
exp (2.28)
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
45
Similarly to the previous nondimensional value defined by Chambers, the value of t
c
(Equation 2.22) replaced the t
DA
value for the analysis of the Grt parameter.
Due to insufficient minimum fluidisation velocity information for the mode of flow
material, the fluidisation Froude number could not be adequately determined for the
majority of the bulk material. However, a comparison between P* and Grt was made
with the mode of flow data which showed good predictive capabilities, as shown in
Figure 21.
0.1
1
10
100
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Grt (x 10
3
)
P
*
FDJ ones
DLJ ones
PLJ ones
FDMainwaring
DLMainwaring
PLMainwaring
FDChapter 3
Plug flow
Dilute phase only
Fluidised dense
phase
Figure 21, diagram of the mode of flow prediction of Sanchezs nondimensional
parameters P* and Grt with the mode of flow data
The clustering of the mode of flow data using Sanchezs key parameters can be clearly
seen in Figure 21 where there are very few data points in the regions shaded by any two
of the modes of flow. Furthermore, a clear majority of fluidised dense phase material
can be determined at Grt values greater than 0.2 x 10
3
and are relatively independent of
the P* values. Overall, the mode of flow predictive performance is similar to the
Chambers and Fargette analysis.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
46
2.4 Proposed Mode of Flow Diagram
Although the permeability factor of a bulk material is generally welldefined, the de
aeration value is difficult to measure with different researchers employing a variety of
techniques. The various methods in determining deaeration values also make it difficult
to compare the pneumatic conveying diagrams and in particular, the bulk material data
associated with these diagrams. Also, the size of the plenum chamber, the height of the
material and/or the diameter of the testing chamber vessel can also affect the deaeration
values (e.g. [6][11][18][45]).
100
1000
10000
0.1 1 10 100 1000
Permeabilty ( x 10
6
m
3
s /kg)
L
o
o
s
e
P
o
u
r
e
d
B
u
l
k
D
e
n
s
i
t
y
(
k
g
/
m
3
)
fluidised dense phase
dilute only
plug flow
Figure 22, proposed mode of flow predictive diagram
The problem with defining a standard deaeration value led to the investigation of
establishing a two dimensional diagram that could better predict the three pneumatic
conveying modes of flow without the need to determine a deaeration value. Using the
bulk material data in the mode of flow tables, the loosepoured bulk density was
plotted versus permeability, as shown in Figure 22. This Figure shows a potential
boundary between fluidised dense phase and dilute phase only bulk material with the
boundary between dilute phase only and plug type flow defined somewhere near a value
of 30 x 10
6
m
3
s kg
1
. It must be noted that the boundaries in the new proposed diagram
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
47
are empirical and may change at a later time due to more mode of flow data
becoming available .The equations of these boundaries are detailed in Table 8.
The accuracy of this diagram in predicting pneumatic conveying performance is similar
to the basic material diagrams for fluidised dense phase and plug type flow. However,
the major improvement over the basic material diagrams is that there is now a clear
dilute phase region. These results also suggest that replacing deaeration with loose
poured bulk density in pneumatic conveying diagrams would also alleviate the
confusion in comparing deaeration values by different researchers.
Table 8, Boundaries of proposed mode of flow predictive diagram
Boundary Proposed diagram
Fluidised Dense Phase
Dilute Only
300
4 / 3
bl
Dilute Only Plug Flow
6
10 30
2.5 Summary
The basic and airparticle diagrams have shown that they have good predictive
capabilities for at least one pneumatic conveying mode of flow. The basic particle
diagrams generally give an accurate prediction of fluidised dense phase capabilities.
However, a significant number of plug type and dilute only capable material are
clustered together in a transition zone which shows that for these basic parameter
diagrams there is a region where it is difficult to established clear mode of flow
behaviour. Obviously the size distribution and particle shape is not reflected in the mean
particle size and particle density parameters and this is the primary reason why the loose
poured bulk density was used to replace the particle density. There was some
improvement in mode of flow prediction with the implementation of the bulk density
parameter approach; in particular, a clearly defined predictive area for dilute phase only
capable material was formed while there was a slight improvement in the plug flow
prediction capability. A summary of the strong predictive and transition regions for each
basic bulk material chart is shown in Table 9.
CHAPTER 2: Predicting Conveying Modes of Flow
48
Table 9, Summary of mode of flow predictive capability of basic bulk material
diagrams
Strong Predictive Regions
Diagram
Fluidised
Dense Phase
Dilute Only Plug Flow
Transition Regions
Geldart
A and C
Powder groups
No prediction
D type powders
and
s

a
<2000
kg/m
3
B type powders, D type
powders with
s

a
>2000
kg/m
3
Modified
Geldart
A and C
Powder groups
B powders and
bl
>1000 kg/m
3
D type powders
B type powders with
blp
<1000 kg/m
3
Molerus
A and C
Powder groups
No prediction
D type powders
and
s

a
<2000
kg/m
3
B type powders, D type
powders with
s

a
>2000
kg/m
3
Modified
Molerus
A and C
Powder groups
B powders and
bl
>1000 kg/m
3
D type powders
B type powders with
blp
<1000 kg/m
3
Dixon
(50100 mm
pipes)
No slugging
behaviour
No prediction
Axisymmetric
slugging and
D>100mm ID
s

a
<2000 kg/m
3
Slightly less accurate than
the Geldart and Molerus
models
Modified
Dixon (50
100 mmpipes)
No slugging
behaviour
Asymmetric
slugging and
bl
>1000 kg/m
3
Axisymmetric
slugging and
D>100mm ID
Slightly less accurate than
the Geldart and Molerus
models
Pan PC1 PC3
PC2 and
d
p
>1000 m
PC2 and d
p
<1000 m
Generally, diagrams based on the airparticle parameters had a higher overall mode of
flow predictive ability when compared to the basic particle diagrams. However, it must
be noted that the airparticle parameter based diagrams had a smaller set of bulk
material data to compare predictive performance. As first suggested by Mainwaring and
Reed [24] and further reinforced by J ones [18], it has been shown conclusively that the
fluidised dense phase material is dominated by high air retentive and low permeability
behaviour while plug type material deaerates quickly and has a high permeability.
This work has also shown the potential for the use of loosepoured bulk density as an
alternative to the particle density, and the use of permeability as an alternative to mean
particle size. These two parameters provide an improved method of classification of
materials for pneumatic conveying capability and overcome the problems with
determining deaeration values. It is also important to note that there are some other
works developed by researchers that have not been reviewed due to insufficient
available data. The two researchers that have been mentioned in this chapter but
insufficient available bulk material data to compare their predictive diagrams were
Grace [15] and Rietema [39].
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