Storage and handling of cohesive bulk solids such as powders and granules, which are integral to a wide range of industrial processes. Large quantities of these materials are often stored in big silos and bunkers whilst containers made of ﬂexible fabric such as buggies and bulk bags
are commonly used for the storage and transport of smaller quantities. Most studies conducted in the past have focused on rigid wall containers (silos), while the very few studies on ﬂexible containers have shown that increased wall ﬂexibility leads to large stress redistributions in the stored solid which are not predicted by the established theories [1, 2]. Consequently, there is a lack of understanding of the stress distribution in containers with ﬂexible walls. Consistent with this, problems of non-uniform discharge, completely arrested discharge and incomplete emptying
have been observed in ﬂexible containers for the storage of cohesive powders, leading to loss of productivity in industrial processes. The aim of my project is to understand the stress ﬁeld and discharge ﬂow modes in ﬂexible-wall containers such as bulk bags and buggy systems through a combination of experiments and ﬁnite element analysis and then utilise the new insight to produce a design methodology for reliable discharge in such containers.
R.J. Goodey, C.J. Brown, and J.M. Rotter. Predicted patterns of ﬁlling pressures in thinwalled square silos. Engineering Structures, 28(1):109 – 119, 2006.
J.Y. Ooi and J.M. Rotter. Wall pressures in squat steel silos from simple ﬁnite element analysis. Computers & Structures, 37(4):361 – 374, 1990.