Ajax test powder flow in the Fjords

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Ajax test powder flow in the Fjords

Ajax technical sales engineer Simon Fields recently travelled to Norway to conduct on-site powder testing for a chemical manufacturer. The objective was to investigate the flow characteristics of the material at different moisture contents and how these results should influence the design of replacement solids handling equipment.

Predicting the flow characteristics of powders during manufacture is important. Getting the powder flow wrong can be highly disruptive to plant performance and productivity especially where equipment has to be taken off-line and stripped down to clean out blockages.

Several characteristics determine how a powder will behave during handling including shear strength and wall friction. Simon’s tests determined that increasing the moisture content of the powder only had a significant effect on the shear strength of the material. However, the high level of moisture in the material was found to also increase its adhesion characteristics. These aspects in combination encouraged structural arching across the narrow slot of an existing conveyor.

Part of the manufacturing process also involved conveying the material at a 60° angle. Conveying material up a steep incline is difficult as when a screw is inclined material tends to fall back into the prior pitch space, dramatically increasing the cross sectional loading of the conveyor as the angle of the screw is now below the contact friction angle of the material.

The results of the powder testing can now be used give consideration to either modifying the existing plant or define the requirements for new solids handling equipment.


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