GCU presents pneumatic conveying research at NAFEMS

19 June 2015

GCU presents pneumatic conveying research at NAFEMS

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are presenting innovative research about the forces between particles and surfaces in pneumatic conveying systems at the NAFEMS World Congress 2015 next week (June 21 - 24), a global conference for the engineering modelling, analysis and simulation community.

Pneumatic conveying systems are used by many industries to transfer cement, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other dry bulk materials through pipes. By controlling the airflow inside the conveying line, using a positive pressure or vacuum system, the technique can reliably transport materials from one location to another.

In the process of attempting to understand better particle-surface impacts in pneumatic pipelines, GCU researchers have found that existing measurement systems are not able to effectively measure the force of contact of smaller particles. This is due to the very short time the particle is in contact with the measurement sensors. The smaller the particle, the shorter the contact time and the harder it is to measure.

With the ultimate goal of providing solutions to industry resulting in optimum designs and/or to prevent erosion or degradation problems in pneumatic conveying systems, GCU’s Dr Andrew Cowell and Professor Don McGlinchey have used finite element modelling to identify the issues of measuring small particle impact forces and contact times.

As part of his PhD work, Andrew Cowell conducted research to model the mechanical response of piezoelectric sensors, which generate a charge proportional to an applied force, to provide information about the response of the measurement system to various particle sizes.

Andrew said: “Industrial use of pneumatic conveying technology still relies significantly on empirical approaches to improve the efficiency and reliability of systems. This is potentially a big step forward in the development of effective modelling.”

This work will be presented at the NAFEMS World Congress 2015 in San Diego, California.

GCU has significant expertise in particulate solid handling systems, including working with Perthshire-based LoadFast Systems to develop an award winning technology for the vertical transportation of materials through chutes, and with Murphy Pipelines to develop technology for industrial scale tunnel fill applications using pneumatic conveying.

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