Assessment of the Effect of Dairy Powder Properties on Dilute-Phase Pneumatic Conveying Process: An Experimental and CFD-DEM Modelling Approach

Akeem K. Olaleye
University of Limerick, Ireland
Dairy Process Technology Centre (DPTC), The Bernal Institute
Prof. Harry Van Den Akker & Prof. Gavin Walker
09/2015 – Present

The design and operation of efficient pneumatic transport systems for cohesive dairy powders depend on the type of powder, its properties, and the conveying parameters. In this study, an experimental approach and a CFD-DEM model were used to investigate the effect of powder properties and conveying parameters on the dilute-phase pneumatic transport of fat-filled milk powder fines in a 50mm diameter stainless steel pipe with horizontal and vertical sections connected by 90o bends.

The effects of powder properties (i.e particle size, shape, density, cohesion, etc.) and conveying parameters (i.e. solid loading ratio, air velocity, bend configuration and orientation, etc.) on the flowability of the milk powder were investigated. Analysis of the effect of the various powder properties on the transport process was performed. These properties (i.e. surface energy, particle, size and shape of the milk powder) are used in DEM to model the degree of cohesiveness of the powders.

In this study EDEM is coupled with ANSYS Fluent for modelling the particle-particle and particle-wall interactions, the effects of particle-geometry adhesion phenomena (i.e. particle deposition, resuspension, agglomeration, and clogging/blockage). This model can be used to analyze the critical condition to avoid complete pipe blockage during transport of cohesive milk powders i.e. fat-filled milk powders.

SPONSOR – Enterprise Ireland (EI), Republic of Ireland

INDUSTRY PARTNER – The Irish Dairy Industry

EDEM is a user-friendly software which has accorded me the opportunity to easily embrace the concept of “modelling the small to understand the large” in a range of cohesive dairy powder processing devices i.e. modelling milk powder stickiness, agglomeration, and adhesion to surfaces during pneumatic conveying. EDEM’s easy-to-use coupling interface programme for handling multi-scale and/or multiphysics simulation makes it a leader in the field of bulk material simulation.

Akeem K. Olaleye University of Limerick

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