Investigation of the dynamic deflection of conveyor belts via experimental and modelling methods

C. Wheeler, D. Ilic, J. O'Shea, J. Shen
Conveyor belt, Coupled FEM and DEM model, Dynamic belt deflection measurement, Trampling resistance

In a belt conveyor system the belt and conveyed bulk material experience cyclic movement due to the presence of the belt sag during operation. This dynamic belt deflection results in the trampling resistance of the belt conveyor. Dynamic belt deflection is complicated as it depends on the properties of the belt and bulk material, belt and material interaction and the configuration of the belt conveyor such as the idler spacing, belt tension and speed. To investigate belt deflection for variable dynamic conditions, a specially designed test facility has been constructed, which replicates the relative movement of a belt and idlers by moving several idler roll sets underneath a fixed belt. The main components of the test facility are described in this paper. A new experimental approach based on a photogrammetry technique is proposed for dynamic belt deflection measurements. Moreover, a coupled Finite Element Method (FEM) and Discrete Element Method (DEM) model is developed to predict the dynamic belt deflection. Experimental results were presented and compared to the results from the theoretical calculations and simulations. Comparisons showed a good correlation between simulation and experimental results.

Keywords: Conveyor belt, Trampling resistance, Dynamic belt deflection measurement, Coupled FEM and DEM model, 

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