IBC blending performance analysis depending on particles dimensions and shape
Anton V. Kulchitsky, Dmytro Cherepakha, Jerome B. Johnson
Intermediate bulk container (IBC) blenders are widely used in the creation of homogeneous powder mixtures as an important part of industrial processes in pharmaceutical, food, and chemical industries. Particle size plays a significant role in blending properties [1,2], which makes a discrete element method (DEM) analysis more challenging as it seldom can operate with actual particle sizes and shapes due to the computational complexity of the method.
We utilize a scaling DEM analysis to study how particle size and shape influence mixing rates and segregation and to predict the blending quality and performance in different areas inside a standard IBC blender. We determine segregation rates during both blending and discharge as the discharge is an important part of mixture production. As a result of the analysis, we propose a standard procedure and create a modeling software application suitable to perform a qualitative and quantitative performance prediction of full-scale IBC blenders.
1. Sarkar, A., & Wassgren, C. R. (2015). Effect of particle size on flow and mixing in a bladed granular mixer. AIChE Journal, 61(1), 46-57.
2. Bridgwater, J., Bagster, D. F., Chen, S. F., & Hallam, J. H. (1969). Geometric and dynamic similarity in particle mixing. Powder Technology, 2(4), 198-206.
Dr. Anton Kulchitsky has degrees in Applied Mathematics (Masters) and Mechanics (Ph.D.) from Moscow State University. He has over 20 years of applied research experience, including 10 years in discrete element method development. He co-developed, with Jerome B. Johnson, the Polyphysica particle dynamics model. Dr. Kulchitsky has led research projects related to sea-ice drift modeling, NASA’s asteroid retrieval mission, and water migration in lunar regolith. He is a Co-I on the CAESAR comet sample return mission proposal, which seeks to return a volatile gas rich sample from comet 67P. He has also contributed to developing analytical and numerical methods to solve different practical problems, including intensive droplet evaporation, ionospheric advection, and ultra-low frequency electromagnetic wave propagation through the Earth’s crust. Currently Anton Kulchitsky is CTO of Coupi, Inc., where he leads the software development team. He is also a research associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.