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A model to simulate the behaviour of rectangular block heaps-I

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The behaviour of heaps is a major research project in a number of areas of science and engineering, especially powder technology and chemical engineering. A computer model was developed to build rectangular block heaps and calculate the force distribution at the base of the heap of blocks, in which the blocks were of arbitrary but equal height and length and every top block was at the centre of the space between its two supports. A set of random numbers from Brownlee were used to generate the block widths and the space between two adjacent blocks. In 230 heaps analysed, the results from about 33% show good agreement with both the experimental results of Smid and Novosad and the theoretical results of Bagster et al. in cylindrical rod heaps. For relatively small- and large-sized heaps the vertical forces show a peaked distribution. Which is similar to that obtained by Clough and Woodward using finite element analysis within earth dams. In the case of large-scale heaps, the forces vary about their average distribution. Any further study should consider more complex and random heaps in order to make certain the force distribution in rectangular block heaps.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia


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