Powder Show Sessions Q&A: Material Characterization & Sampling; Bulk Solids Storage and Transport; More

We spoke with Tim Bell, senior engineering fellow, DuPont (retired), about his educational sessions at the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference and Exhibition taking place in less than two weeks.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

April 14, 2023

4 Min Read
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Tim Bell, senior engineering fellow, DuPont (retired), is a conference presenter at the International Powder and Bulk Solids Conference and Exhibition April 25-27 in Rosemont, IL.

Tim Bell, senior engineering fellow, DuPont (retired), will be presenting four educational sessions at this year's International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference and Expo (April 25-27, Rosemont, IL). 

Bell is an independent consultant for the design and troubleshooting of bulk solids handling and processing systems. He previously led DuPont’s competency in solids handling and chaired ASTM committee D-18.24, guiding the measurement of bulk solid properties for handling purposes.

The sessions are: 

  • Basics of Material Characterization and Sampling

  • Charging of Ingredients to Tanks and Mixers 

  • Not Just Silos - Other Methods to Store and Transport Bulk Solids

  • Case Histories in Storage Systems: A panel

We asked Bell to give us a short description on each, along with a few other related questions. Here are his answers:

Basics of Material Characterization and Sampling

(Tuesday, April 25, 12:30 – 2 p.m.)

Q. What can you tell us about this session? 

For every bulk solid material, there is potentially a long list of particle and bulk properties that will affect its behavior during processing or while in the hands of the customer. Surprisingly, few of the relevant properties can be found in handbooks or supplier data sheets, and it is up to the process owner to decide what to measure and how to measure it. This session will introduce the common material characterization techniques, including particle size measurement, bulk density, flowability, and dust explosion characteristics. Before undertaking any analysis, it is important to obtain an appropriate sample. Tips for this frequently misunderstood task will be provided.

Charging of Ingredients to Tanks and Mixers 

(Wednesday, April 26, 9:30 – 11 a.m.)

Q. What can you tell us about this session? 

Most operations that process bulk solids will include a step in which bulk materials are added to a tank, reactor, or mixer. This is an essential part of the process, but the engineering details are often considered so late in the design sequence that it is impossible to install the best technology. Plant operations are sometimes condemned to a lifetime of awkward or hazardous process steps. This unique presentation will include advice on all the major considerations for the task, including raw material packaging options, ergonomics, small-scale materials handling systems, clogging of feed points, and the avoidance of dust explosions.

Not Just Silos - Other Methods to Store and Transport Bulk Solids

(Wednesday, April 26, 12:30 – 2 p.m.)

Q. What can you tell us about this session? 

Typical training sessions for solids handling systems focus almost exclusively on permanent silo structures. This session will take the basics of solids flow and conveying and extend them to the great variety of methods to store and logistically transport bulk materials, including bags, boxes, drums, bulk bags (FIBCs), portable bins, bulk pneumatic trailers, and ISO shipping containers. While some of the same considerations apply to each type of container, there are unique aspects that can make a particular container a good or bad choice from a logistical or solids handling standpoint. For example, drums are cheap to fill but difficult to empty and dispose of, while ISO shipping containers offer the lowest cost overseas transportation and least packaging waste but potentially the greatest investment to unload.

Case Histories in Storage Systems: A panel

(Wednesday, April 26, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

Q. What can you tell us about this session? 

A panel of three expert consultants in bulk materials storage systems will review the diversity of problems that they have solved or prevented.  Most of these problems go beyond the basics of gravity solids flow, and highlight the challenges faced in solids handling technology. Questions from the audience will be welcome, and the discussion will be moderated by an industrialist with extensive operations experience.

Q. Is the Basics course for newbies in the industry, or are they all for both new and experienced processing professionals?

The goal of the fundamentals (or basics) track is to cover (insofar as possible) all of the main topics in two days for folks that are new to the field. The remaining tracks are more detailed in their coverage, and they presume that the participant has either attended the other lectures in the track or have prior knowledge of the topic. For example, my track (storage) covers the basics of silo design in the first two lectures, and then goes deeper (and wider) in subsequent sessions.

Q. What are some trends that you have seen regarding powders & solids, say since the last Show, two years ago?

The pace of technological progress is relatively slow, but the turnover in people is significant, so I'm sure there will be a lot of people at the show that have not attended in the past.

Q. What are some things to watch in the near future (two to three years)?

In terms of markets, probably the three big fields are batteries, additive manufacturing (3-D printing), and hemp product processing. The main technology advances continue to be in the field of mathematical modeling of particle behavior.  This is a difficult field, but progress is gradually being made.

For more information and the full agenda as well as registration, visit the Powder Show here.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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