Bulk Solids Handling

Module summary

Module code: GEEN1135
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Engineering
Module Coordinator(s): Richard Farnish



Contextualise the significance of bulk solids handling technology within the process industry and demonstrate the models and techniques used to solve storage and handling problems.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1 Critically analyse how the particle properties and bulk flow properties are measured and the suitability of the different techniques that are commonly used
2 Evaluate the physical laws that govern bulk solid flow behaviour
3 Evaluate the suitability of the commonly used discharge aids for different bulk solid properties and storage and handling operations
4 Evaluate the potential problems that particle; segregation, degradation and agglomeration can present to the process industry, with a knowledge of techniques that can be employed to mitigate them during storage and conveying operations

Indicative content

Introduction to Bulk Solids Handling Technology: Overview of the range of Industrial sectors handling bulk solids, typical process layouts, and typical process problems
Bulk solid characterisation: Particle properties; size and distribution measurement techniques, simple testers; discharge rate, angle of repose, powder rheometers, bulk flow properties measured with shear testers, flow function, bulk density and wall friction
Relationships between the particle and bulk properties: The effect of the particle properties, size, shape, moisture content, free flow additive and processing conditions on the bulk flow behaviour
Reliable gravity flow from Storage: Fundamentals of powder discharge behaviour in storage vessels, flow patterns and flow obstructions, Jenike hopper design method to determine geometry for reliable gravity flow in a mass or core flow pattern
Silo pressures: Wall pressures and feeder loads for a range of operating conditions; initial filling, or discharge for a range of flow patterns (mass flow, mixed flow and core flow)
Interfacing: Geometric requirements of different feeder types to ensure a uniform draw down in storage vessels
Flow promoting devices: An overview of the mode of operation and suitability of the common flow promoting devices namely; vibrations, air injection, mechanical extraction and inserts technology
Belt Conveyors: Overview of the different belt conveyor types; textured, bucket, tube/sling, blanket, thrower etc. and their applications, design calculations for a belt conveyors; review of loads on the belt, belt tension, idler spacing, belt elongation and power requirement
Screw conveyors: Overview of the different operating modes, flooded, gravity and dynamic modes, displacement diagrams, screw forms for specific processing operations, power calculation
Pneumatic Conveyor Design: Overview of the components of a PC, how to design a PC system from the characteristics, scale for length, size the filter area
Quality issues, how to measure and mitigate: bulk solid segregation by particle size (elutriation and or surface effect), particle degradation (breakage) during handling and agglomeration mechanisms; moisture migration, chemical reaction, plastic flow and electrostatics

Teaching and learning activity

The Module is delivered through formal lectures and tutorials. Fundamental concepts are introduced in lectures and emphasized using examples and demonstrations and discussed further in tutorials. Tutorials provide the opportunity for the student to demonstrate their new skills and knowledge through guided examples and problem sheets. A comprehensive laboratory programme aids the understanding of the subject matter further, in addition to developing essential practical skills. Self-learning activities are an important part of the Module.


Students are required to pass all components in order to pass the module.

Lab practical - 50%
LO - 1-3.
Pass mark - 40%
1500 words.

Exam - 50%
LO - 1-4.
Pass mark - 40%
2 hours.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Mock exam.