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Silo Design

Team up with an engineer and learn how to design huge constructions called silos and perform soil mechanics tests to obtain the properties of powdered material. Observe the flow of bulk solids inside a silo and understand the principle of a pneumatic conveying pump.

About This Simulation

While trying to store grains, ancient Greeks created large constructions, commonly known as silos. These are still used in the present day. Many types of powdered material, such as food or pharmaceutical products, have to be stored for long periods of time without being exposed to any kind of contaminating substances or weather conditions. In the silo design simulation, you will be taught the main aspects of the silo design process.

The flow of bulk solids
You will meet Mike the engineer and discuss the need of a silo construction to store a massive amount of sand. The silo has to be designed according to the properties of the material you want to store. You have to decide whether your sand is a Newtonian or a Hookean material. In the silo design simulation, you have the chance to observe the flow of bulk solids from inside the silo.

Direct shear test
In order to identify the material properties of the sand, you need to perform a direct shear test. The outcome of this experiment will determine the friction angle of the sand and the wall material of the silo. Messy and time consuming experiments can be conducted in a small amount of time. The angle and opening of the silo will be designed according to your findings.

Pneumatic conveying system
Once you manage to create a silo to store huge amounts of sand, you need to understand the main principles of a pneumatic conveying system, in order to transfer the sand across long vertical distances. Will you be able to store sand so far away from the nearest beach?

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Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to….

  • Understand the importance of storing bulk solids in silos
  • Distinguish between mass flow and funnel flow of the bulk solids
  • Learn the basic soil properties that can be assessed by soil mechanics tests
  • Learn how to perform a direct shear test
  • Learn how to design a silo for given material properties
  • Learn the basic elements of the pneumatic conveying system

Techniques In This Simulation

  • Direct shear test

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